Ask a Vet and Get Your Veterinary Questions Answered.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech of 30+ years and I have worked with many small animals. What are you are describing is a sign of a gastrointestinal ulcer. The dark black stool usually indicates a GI bleed which could be stress related. Ferrets hide illness very well and it is important that we start getting some food into him. The diarrhea compounds the problem because the loss of nutrients and body fluids, they can go down rapidly. The way we will help this is to feed him will be with a syringe using the duck soup Diet. Wiljami should be fed approximately 25-35cc of food every 3-4 hours, for a daily intake of about 80-120 cc's of food. When you syringe feed do it very slowly, so Wiljami can swallow it and it is not aspirated into the lungs. Please feed from the side of his mouth. The ferret metabolism is very fast so keeping up with the feedings as described is very important. The easiest of the duck soup diets until you can get all the ingredients would be to feed some Gerber Chicken stage 2 and gravy baby food. You will need to feed as directed above. This is very important to keep Wiljami going. This is a link that goes over other variations of the Duck soup diet. http://miamiferret.org/duck_soup.htm and this has links for multiple recipes for the Duck soup diet: http://forum.ferret.com/tm.aspx?m=174017 . I suggest that you find one that seems to work for that is easy, but that will supply the needed nutrition. Please continue trying to get Wiljami eating on his own, but if he will not the syringe feeding will be a must to keep him going. It would also be wise to add a little Infant Electrolyte Replacer to the water to aid with the loss of fluids with the diarrhea. It is very important to keep fluids going in with the diarrhea and the Electrolytes will help replace the electrolytes lost with the Diarrhea. I would get Wiljami into the Vet and have him tested for Helicobacter. It causes diarrhea and soft loose black stools: http://www.ferretuniverse.com/health/helio.asp
This is a common problem in Ferrets. For now I would pick up Some Bene-Bac which is a pro biotic and give it along with the Duck Soup Diet. If the Vets you have seen do not specialize in Ferrets, this link does have ferret Vets: Please let me know if you have some other questions and I will be happy to continue with you. Joan
Joan, thank you for the answer. Before I managed to read this, I had taken my four boys to the vets for a thorough exam. Whilst I thank you for the effort and huge amount of information, it turns out that 2 of our boys currently have, and one of our boys has just had, Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis or, ECE. This is the very first time I have had to deal with this illness and as such I was really worried (and pretty much clueless) about what these symptoms I was seeing.Again though, thank you for taking the time to answer my question even though it turned out to be something else.Pauli