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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11544
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My ferret is not as energetic as usually and is not eating

Customer Question

My ferret is not as energetic as usually and is not eating much and has diarrhea. And is sleeping a lot. This happened yesterday afternoon. He does not go outside.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.

My name is Anna, and I'm a biologist with a special interest pet health. I'm sorry to hear that Henry is not well. Some additional information will be useful.

When he has diarrhea, what color are the droppings?

Is the diarrhea like liquid or is it just a little runny?

Is he drinking water?

Does Henry have the run of the house, or is he kept in a cage?

Thank you.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your response

His diarrhea is a brownish/greenish color and is alittle runny.

As for the water I change it everyday I am assuming he is do not know for sure. he is kept in a cage and we have a playroom where he gets exercise twice a day.


Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Unfortunately, Diarrhea in ferrets can be caused by countless things, so we probably can't determine the cause. A partial list includes bacterial and viral infections, partial blockages of the digestive system, communicable illnesses, cancer, diseases of internal organs, eating something toxic, and internal parasites. Very dark (almost black) diarrhea indicates internal bleeding and that is an emergency. that doesn't sound like what Henry has. However, if the diarrhea is quite green, that can indicate a viral illness called ECE. You can read more on it here:

You can read more about the various causes of diarrhea and treatments at this site:

Regardless of the cause, there are some things you can do to help Henry. It's not safe to assume he's drinking because a ferret that doesn't feel well often will not drink. When a ferret stops eating normally and isn't drinking very much, dehydration can quickly result. That in itself is life-threatening. Supportive treatments are very important because a ferret can quickly develop life-threatening dehydration. A special diet and Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants) can help. Feed Henry some "duck soup," which will help to fortify him. If he won't eat it, use a syringe to put a little at a time in the side of his mouth. Here is the recipe:

Mix well:
One can Sustacal 8oz (this is a human non-dairy product. Don't use chocolate flavored)
One can water
4oz dry food -soaked in enough water to soften completely
1 jar chicken baby food

You can also add mashed banana and electrolytes (Pedialyte or powdered electrolytes made to be added to water).

You'll also want to give him Pedialyte throughout the day. Begin by giving him a dropperful every 10 minutes for the first hour. After that, give it to him once per hour. Let him rest as much as he wants.

The measures above will help strengthen him, but it would be best to have Henry seen by a vet. Take along a fresh stool sample in a plastic bag to help the vet with his/her diagnosis. This link will take you to a directory of ferret vets that may help you find some in your area. If it doesn't, any emergency clinic would probably be able to help.

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Henry will reach a full recovery.


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