Potential Ferret Health Issue

We have recently been notified of a situation concerning the health of ferrets.  We were informed by veterinary contacts that for the last 5 years, they have seen an increase in urolithiasis (urinary stones) in pet ferrets.

We questioned several other veterinarians, asked the expertise of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, nutritionists, ferret suppliers, pet stores and other specialists and the general consensus didn’t clearly demonstrate a possible cause for the increase of this health issue. According to some, it could be related to some elements found in ferret foods such as green peas.

At this time there is nothing conclusive, but we feel it is worth watching and want to share the following recommendations:

  • Make yourself a record sheet of the last year or two of all the incidents concerning ferret health and take into account the following facts;

o            the animal’s age and sex;
o            any reported symptoms;
o            a list the medical treatments, if the animal healed or if there was death, and the probable cause;
o            the type of food (if it contained green peas or not);
o            and all other pertinent information.

  • Ask your veterinarian if he or she has seen other similar cases in order to compare findings.
  • Ask the opinion of other specialized veterinarians of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of your region.
  • Do your own research on the subject.
  • Discuss this with your food suppliers and ferret breeders.
  • Stay up to date with the current scientific research and their results.

And finally, as the person responsible for animal welfare, precaution remains essential when this type of situation occurs and when there’s absence of absolute certainty.  Share your findings with your veterinarian or local Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

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