I'm new to owning ferrets and love them and do
my best to provide for them and make them happy. I
came upon your site while looking for information on
ferret weight loss. I've two ferrets. The first is
probably a lil over a year old and I've had in for
about a year, and in July I got a second who is probably
only six months. They get along great, sleep together
and play together. When I got my second ferret Riley,
my first ferret Petey appeared overweight and rather
depressed. Once I got him a playmate he began losing
weight and becoming a lot more active and playful.
Riley was very thin when I got him and full of energy.
Over the past couple months Petey has lost a LOT of
weight, and seems quite thin. On the other hand Riley
has put on quite a deal of weight and is working up
to the size of Petey before I got Riley. They both
eat Marshall's ferret food, and I've seen them both
eating their fair share. They both get at least three
hours of exercise outside the cage a day, both seem
to play normal only now Petey has more energy and Riley
has less. Their poops and pees haven't really changed
at all that I've ever noticed so I would say they were
normal. I don't want to worry too much and I did read
what you had to say on the issue of weight loss on
your site but I just wanted to ask if you had any other
reasons, seeing as one lost so much weight and the
other gained. Petey was skinny when I got him, gained
a lot of weight and again lost it, I didn't know if
it was some baby phase while they were young where
Riley would shrug it off again in a few months. Any
help or knowledge you could give would be greatly appreciated.
If food intake is the same and fecal/urine
etc.. is normal, then I doubt the weight loss is anything
to worry about. Ferrets gain/lose weight with the seasons,
in the Winter they can gain up to 40% of body weight
to keep warm and then lose again for Summer. However
since we keep them in controlled temperatures the visible
hair growth and hair loss is not present, but the fat
gain and loss can be apparent.
At 6 months of age your ferret should
be at its best, plump and happy and will lose weight
as he ages, then each 6 months changes in structure
and weight will occur, these are normal. Hair color
and thickness will change also, depending of course
on temperatures and the amount of daylight. Remember
that ferrets do need normal daylight hours and normal
darkness, instead of subjecting them to artificial
light, since their makeup is governed by the amount
If you see changes in eating/defecating,
sleeping more than usual, then it is time for a good
checkup with a ferret knowledgeable vet.
I have a 15month Hob full male. He has always been
chubby but over the last 2 weeks he has gone from a
chubby (fat) ferret to skin and bone. I have read your
other answers but his fur hasn't changed. (It has stopped
being oily.) I had a 9yr old that I had to have put
down about a month ago and my other female seems to
be pregnant. He is always running around marking every
thing non-stop and when he's done all over the house
he just sleeps. The only thing he shows any energy
for is walks but once we're back home he'll sleep till
the next day. He's not himself and I'm getting very
worried about the weight loss. He's never even nipped
any one or thing and today when I touched his hips
he went for me... I have taken him to the vet and he
has just said it's fine we'll check him next month
and that it maybe "cushings" I have no idea
what this is or how much it's going to effect my ferret
for. The fact he's lost so much weight in only 2 weeks
is worrying me. Any ideas?
Ps: urine and stools is fine/soft a times.
First of all there is NO CUSHINGS in ferrets,
it is ADRENAL DISEASE, hopefully your vet is ferret
knowledgable? From what you are descibing, he doesn't
sound as if he has adrenal problems, usually ferrets
with adrenal disease do not show signs of illness,
only in last stages. Normally you will see hairloss
and behavioural changes, but since your male is whole,
those changes would be hard to detect. You can read
about ADRENAL DISEASE here: www.miamiferret.org
Copy articles for your vet also.
Did your vet do any blood tests on your
ferret, as it sounds as if he certainly needs to? I
would ask him to check his blood glucose to be sure
it is not too LOW. What exactly is he eating, are you
watching to see if he is eating as usual, or less.
If he has low blood sugar he needs to eat every 3-4
hours and lots of MEAT protein, it will keep his blood
sugar leveled off and then he will not be so tired.
When the vet checks he can do the test while you wait,
with a HUMAN GLUCOMETER (made for diabetics).
Until you get him checked can you buy
him BABYFOOD CHICKEN/TURKEY, ALL MEAT and feed him
3-4 teaspoonsful every 3-4 hours, it will help him
gain his weight back, plus more importantly will keep
his blood sugar leveled off and if the vet should prescibe
meds he will need the pureed chicken to eat with meds
to prvent ulcers. If he does a complete blood test
you will have the answers you need if it is not low
blood sugar. He is very young to be experiencing illness.
I have a ferret that is about 5 or 6 years old.
He recently has started to just sleep around and won't
do anything. He is blind also so he doesn't move around
like he used to. He also started to have reddish pudding
like in his stool. I catch him occasionally trying
to eat and drink water, but he didn't do much of it
yesterday. Now his weight has gone down and I feel
his bones. I have another ferret that is less than
a year. They get along fine, but should I separate
them because I don't know what the other has? My ferret
that past away last year was very old and did the same
things. Is it because of his age and being blind causing
depression or something?
Ferrets do not die from 'old age' they die because
something in the body is breaking down. It
sounds like your older ferret is suffering from hypoglycemia
(low blood sugar) and that is why he is sleeping so
much. Hypoglycemia is caused by tumors on the pancreas.
The tumors make too much insulin causing the blood
glucose to drop. When the blood glucose drops the ferret
is too tired to eat and consequently the glucose drops
even more. He could be having small seizures that you
may not have noticed, if so these will get worse. Watch
to see if he stares into space or if he salivates,
these are signs of low blood glucose, you can read
more at: www.miamiferret.org Click
on Healthcare and then on Insulinoma.
Your ferret needs to be seen by a ferret knowledgeable
vet, he will need a blood glucose test
which can be done right there at the vet's office you
can copy the info and take it with you. If it is not
Insulinoma, then the vet will be able to find out what
is causing him to lose weight and sleep so much.
Until you see a vet, feed your ferret Gerber's baby
food (blue label)Chicken/Turkey, about 3-4
teaspoonfuls with one teaspoon of water. Warm it a
little and let him lick from your finger. If he will
not take it get an eyedropper and gently dribble over
his teeth, he will eventually love it. Once he takes
it willingly, pour into a shallow dish for him to eat.
If the vet finds his glucose low he will probably
give you Prednisone for him and give it to him
the same time as the baby food as you will know for
sure he has food in his stomach. Start the baby food
as soon as you can, it is easy for him to digest and
will help keep his blood glucose leveled off, he has
to eat, if he doesn't he will die.
My ferret is only about 2 years old, she is starting
to get a lot skinnier and has a rash like on her back.
his more on her neck but the back side! i'm getting VERY
worried. i am feeding her mothers milk (for puppies) right
now to get her to eat something! I was hoping you would
be able to help me on finding out why she has it. she is
drinking the mothers milk and starting to eat her food
but still losing weight! if you have any idea please help
Not sure what the rash would be, unless she is
scratching, she doesn't have fleas does she? Have you
seen her staring into space, sleeping more than usual,
as these are signs of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)?
Losing weight is also a sign of Hypoglycemia and if
this is the case you need to give her GERBER'S CHICKEN/TURKEY
BABYFOOD (blue label) the high protein content will
help level off her blood sugar and also help her gain
If she is sleeping more and not eating
regularly this will her to lose weight. The low blood
sugar can be caused by tumors on the pancreas and is
called INSULINOMA, you need to take your ferret to
the vet to have her blood checked, until you do PLEASE
start giving her the baby food, not the puppy milk,
that does not have enough protein in it. Give her 3-4
teaspoons with a teaspoon of water mixed in, at least
twice a day, warm a little.
Rascal is almost 1 year old and Boo is 7 mos old.
They are both very active. Neither of them eat a lot.
They both eat Marshalls ferret food. They don't like
any kind of treats, or meats, or baby food...nothing
that it seems most ferrets like. My problem is that Rascal
who used to be the "fat one" is now very skinny.
Granted, she is very, very, active...and she is eating.
I've been watching her stools and they seem ok. I tried
giving her a cream/milk/egg yolk drink but she would
only lick it off my fingers and not from a cup. Any suggestions?
Ferrets do lose weight up to 40% of the body fat
when they change from Winter coat to Summer. Has Rascal
lost his coat recently? If he is eating playing it probably
is nothing to worry about, perhaps he has just lost his
'puppy fat'! If his ribs are showing and he continues
to lose weight, then a visit to the vet is necessary.
I have 5 fuzzies all approx 1 1/2 years. One seems
to have lost weight sides seem to heave occasionally
I took her to Vet. But he claimed she looked fine. She
is also more lethargic, sleeps more than others. Approx
weight 1 pound 2 oz. All the others are 1 pound 10 oz
to 2 pounds.
Ferrets do lose weight with the coat changes (up
to 40%), when they shed their winter coat the undercoat
comes out and the finer guard hairs remain! The weight
returns with the winter coat.
If the ferrets went through a shed recently you will
need to make sure they have a laxative: Laxatone, Cat
Lax etc.. to help the hair move out through the system.
Ferrets can get hairballs that will cause blockages,
made me wonder when you said her sides heave! Even
if only one ferret sheds, the hair can be licked or
swallowed by the others.
Actually the weight of ferrets vary, but it will be
good for you to check her weight regularly to see that
she is not continuously losing, also it would be good
for you to keep a record on everyone, that way when
you go to the vet you will be able to show any sudden
fluctuation in weight gain or loss.
How could the vet tell by looking at the ferret that
she was okay, did he do a blood test to see? I would
start her on the 'chicken soup' and give her at least
4-5 teaspoons twice a day, morning and night. This
is what you need:
- 1 JAR CHICKEN BABYFOOD (Gerbers)
- 1 CAN of A/D (Science Diet)
- PLUS-1/2 babyfood jar of water
WARM before serving and give it to her
on your finger, if she will not eat it, then use an
eyedropper and dribble behind her canine teeth. After
2-3 times she will readily eat it and you can put it
into a shallow dish for her to eat on her own.
This is also a very healthy snack for
your other ferrets, you can give them a teaspoonful
each day, then if they should get sick, it will not
be difficult to feed them, as this is what they will
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