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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Hair Loss on Tail:


 

QUESTION:
I have to wait until the spring, her tail can be bald by them. yuk!!! lol. So if it just stays on her tail, you think it's not the adrenal glands then. I have read that if it's adrenal glands then the fur losing goes to other parts of their body is this true? Also I have heard that if it doesn't start by their butt it's not adrenal glands, and if it starts lower down the tail then it's rat tail, is this true.

 

ANSWER:

She may lose more fur on her tail, which is referred to as rat tail, but as I mentioned she most likely will grow the fur back again when she grows in her new coat, next Spring. The hair loss can be anywhere on the body, top of head, base of tail, stomach, flanks, it is hairloss that does not grow back that is a sign of adrenal disease. Go to: www.miamiferret.org Click on Healthcare and then on ADRENAL DISEASE.


There is NO need for you to go to a vet right now, so stop worrying, there is nothing that needs doing yet. If the hair loss progresses, then you will already have a diagnosis and you will have your options from reading the info that I suggested. She may not have anymore hair loss and grow in a beautiful new coat. Next year around the same time she may lose hair again, but she might not. I have had many ferrets that have had rat tail but then grow back in their coats and others that have hairloss on their bodies and never had a rat tail.

 


QUESTION:
My ferret isn't quite 2 yet, but i noticed that she is starting to lose some fur on it. Is it too early an age to worry about Adrenal Gland problems and is this possibly just the change in seasons fur loss at this age, or should i get her to a vet and have it checked out. There isn't much fur missing, but I did notice this morning it has thinned out. I am from upstate ny and summer is ending, it is starting to get cold so again, maybe it's just a seasonal fur coat change?

 

ANSWER:
Sounds like it is a seasonal change, it is that time of year. Everything in a ferret is governed by light and with the days getting shorter the ferret is changing her coat, she should grow back her hair in the Spring. If the hairloss continues, especially to other areas of the body, then consult your vet.

 


QUESTION:
I have 3 ferrets..the two of them are about 2 yrs old and the third is 3. My middle child is losing fur on his tail and I am 99.9% positive its rat tail. I was reading on one legit web site that you can wash it with clean & clear for sensitive skin. I was wondering if that was okay and how often I should do it. I was also wondering if I should isolate him from the other two.

 

ANSWER:
Ferrets often lose hair on their tails, it is a seasonal thing, nothing contagious, so no need to separate. You can scrub or clean tail but all it will do is clean the little blackheads from the skin. Your ferret will grow new hair on his tail when he changes his coat in the Fall. However, the hair loss can be preliminary to Adrenal Disease, so you need to watch, that next year he doesn't lose more fur on the rest of his body.

 


QUESTION:
I was wondering if you could help. My 4 year old ferret has all of a sudden started losing hair on her tail ( her sister hasn't and they live in same cage), I have read your web page about rat tail. If she has this can she die from it? What can a vet do? Would her sister get it?. One more question if she did die how would her sister cope without her? Do you think she would pine herself away? By the way I have had them since they were 8 weeks old and she is showing no other symptoms.

 

ANSWER:
She will most likely grow her hair back again once the season changes, however if she continues to lose fur on other parts of her body, such as rump, back, belly etc.. then she more than likely has ADRENAL disease which you can read about at: www.miamiferret.org Go to Healthcare and then click on ADRENAL DISEASE.

 

Ferrets with adrenal disease act normal, but inside the tumor will grow, causing excessive itching and hair loss. Females can become anemic and males many times have a swollen prostate and urinary blockages. The disease can be treated by surgical removal of the tumor, or medically by Lupron injections and Melatonin Implants, you will need to speak to your vet about your options and the cost.

 


QUESTION:
My four and a half year old ferret started thinning his tail fur about 6 months ago. SInce that time, his tail became completely bald and I noticed his fur on his body start to thin too. Within the past couple months his tail grew back all its fur. But now his body fur has thinned more and his has a bare patch on his back just above his tail. I know that it could be adrenal gland disease but from everything I've read nothing mentions the fur growing back. What are your thoughts? And could all his fur grow back like his tail did?

 

ANSWER:
Yes, it most likely is adrenal disease, they can grow the fur back again (the tumor goes into remission) and then next season will lose more. The fact he has a bare bottom is indicative of adrenal disease and as it advances the hair loss will continue all over the body. With a male you need to be cautious about urinary blockages so you might want to consider MELATONIN or LUPRON. Go to: www.miamiferret.org click on HEALTHCARE and then ADRENAL DISEASE to find your options.

 


QUESTION:
My ferret is about four years old, and I noticed recently that she has lost almost all of the hair on her tail. Is this normal shedding or do you think that there is something wrong?

 

ANSWER:
Ferrets often lose hair on their tails, it is referred to as 'RAT TAIL', it is a seasonal thing and usually when the next coat comes in the hair will also grow on the tail. However since your ferret is 4 years old, you will need to keep an eye on her and make sure there is regrowth within the next few months and that she does not have hairloss anywhere else.

Unfortunately many ferrets as they age, develop ADRENAL DISEASE, which can be treated several ways, if you would like to learn more about it, please go to: www.miamiferret.org. Click on HEALTHCARE and then ADRENAL DISEASE.

 


QUESTION:
We have a 7 month old neutured male ferret, he is active and acts normal, but his tail is turning a black color and losing all the hair on it, it almost looks rotton.it use to be white, he dosent act like it hurts, we have been cleaning it, whats this problem and is there anything we can do about it?

 

ANSWER:
It is common for ferrets to lose the hair on their tails at certain seasons of the year. When he grows in his next coat he will also grow hair back on his tail. The black you are seeing is 'blackeads', soak his tail and gently scrub to remove whatever you can, but do not worry, it too will go away.

 

As he gets older you will need to watch that he doesn't lose more of his fur in other areas of his body, as this may indicate he has something more serious, such as ADRENAL DISEASE.

 


QUESTION:
They only lose their hair on the tail. What can I do about it and how do I get it better? I am desperate to correct this problem.

 

ANSWER:
Rat tail is very common in ferrets and there really isn't much you can do about it! It is a seasonal thing, when the ferret wears his Summer coat usually this is the time you will see it and when the ferret changes to his Winter coat, the hair usually will grow in again. You can soak and gently scrub the tail loosening the blackheads that are seen in the skin, however this is not often successful either and you most likely will just have to wait till the ferret changes coat. If the coat continues to thin traveling up the back and on top of paws, head, or under belly, then it is time to see the vet as this could mean the beginning of ADRENAL DISEASE. However I would not worry if these signs are not apparent.

 




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