You become very concerned when you notice your female ferret losing hair on her tail. Being a responsible owner, you should pay attention to your pet’s behavior or physical changes. One such occurrence is a female ferret losing hair on her tail. Therefore, if you are looking for an answer to ‘Why is my female ferret losing hair on its tail?’, this article is for you.
In this article, I will tell you the causes of ferrets using hair on tails and what you can do about it. We’ll discuss three major reasons, along with symptoms and probable treatment that can help you & your pet stay healthy and out of concern. If you’re keen on understanding what is causing your female pet to lose hair that moves upward along her body, here is what you need to know.
Why Is My Female Ferrets Losing Hair On Tail
Adrenal Gland Disease (Most Likely)
Just like dogs, you can also find adrenal gland disease in ferrets. However, this is a unique disease that comes with different types of clinical signs & pathophysiology that are seen in the dog. Nowadays, we can notice that the occurrence & prevalence of this disease is increasing day by day.
70% of Pet ferrets found in the United States alone are known to be affected with adrenal gland disease. According to the National Institute of Health, the exact cause of these adrenal gland changes contributing to these diseases’ formation is still unknown.
However, if your pet has been neutered/spayed early, your ferrets are more susceptible to this disease. Female ferrets losing hair in their tails are also assigned to the adrenal gland, which can be accompanied by other symptoms which include:
9 Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Disease
- Vulvar swelling in female
- Increased Thirst and urination
- Sudden Aggression
- Weight loss
- Prostate enlargement in males
If your female ferret is losing hair on her tail, you should first look at the symptoms of adrenal gland disease. If her vulvar appears swollen, she most likely suffers from this gland disease. While researching, I discovered that it is a common syndrome that usually affects middle-aged ferrets.
A female ferret between 3 and seven years old is likelier to develop adrenal gland disease. On the other hand, When your female ferret tends to be healthy, this gland produces different types of hormones that further control various body functions. It is responsible for the functioning of water to electrolyte balance in our female ferret.
Causes of Adrenal Gland Disease
According to the pet care veterinary hospital, the most common cause of adrenal gland diseases tends to be hyperplasia, an excessive growth. When your female ferret is diseased with this concern, she will overproduce her sex hormone. Many researches have shown that adrenal gland disease in female ferrets usually occurs after spaying or castration.
However, the exact reason for adrenal gland disease in ferrets is still unknown because of its complexity. When your ferret is neutered or spayed, it no longer produces sex hormones. It may also negatively affect the production of other hormones in the brain, especially the luteinizing hormone.
When the access luteinizing hormone continuously stimulates your female ferret adrenal gland, it further leads to cell changes, especially associated with adrenal disease. This makes us also wonder why we even spay our female ferrets. Well, spaying is important to prevent other serious problems in ferrets. Plus, spaying/neutering makes her a better and more friendly pet.
How To Identify Adrenal Gland Disease
If your ferret suffers from adrenal disease, you will find a symmetrical hair loss near the base of the tail or at the start, which often progresses towards the head. It would be best to never ignore or leave these diseases untreated because they can also make your female look nearly bald with dry & itchy skin.
Also, after spaying, some female ferrets have seen a return to sexual behavior, which may further develop aggression towards other people and ferret mates. As I told you earlier, if the aggression is accompanied by other symptoms listed above, it is a clear sign of adrenal disease.
Diagnosis For Adrenal Gland Disease
Talking about the diagnosis of adrenal disease is often based on the clinical signs of illness & your pet’s medical history. Your veterinarian is likely to do a routine blood test. Also, your vet may recommend ultrasound tests to determine which adrenal gland is growing. Hospice care will be required because your veterinarian will monitor your affected pet for several months via ultrasound.
3 Possible Treatment Adrenal Gland Disease
Regarding the medical treatments available for female ferrets, you should know that these critters are not good surgical candidates.
Suppose you want to move forward with a medical approach for treatment. In that case, your veterinarian recommends medical therapy that has been found successful in eliminating the clinical signs that we often associate with ferrets.
Another approach that veterinarians may follow is administrative monthly treatment for the rest of your pet’s life. For many veterinarians, monthly lupron administration tends to be the best way of suppressing the hormones often associated with adrenal disease and preventing the recurrence of clinical signs.
Another method that your veterinarian may use to treat the clinical signs associated with this disease is using a drug called Deslorelin Acetate. Just like lupron, Deslorelin Acetates reduce the production of sex hormones in your female ferret. Deslorelin Acetate is a slow-release pellet that veterinarians inject under our pet’s skin.
In terms of appearance, Deslorelin Acetate appears to be about the size of a grain of rice. It is usually injected into our pet’s body as a release-suppressing drug to treat clinical signs of ferret adrenal disease. You should know that this kind of injection or implant, also known as Suprelorin, will take about 4-6 weeks to reach its maximum effect.
There is also an advantage of using this implant because it has been able to suppress the adrenal-associated hormones that may last 8-20 months with one implant treatment. This is also becoming a very popular medical option for treating hair loss in female ferrets. Don’t worry about the injection or the needle because your ferret will be briefly anesthetized when it is given.
Another probable reason your female ferret is losing hair on her tail could be Alopecia. Not only in ferrets but also in other animals, Alopecia can be found. And it’s also considered normal in some situations. In some animals, Alopecia is known as seasonal molting. In male humans, we call it baldness.
If you’re witnessing a larger touch area of hair loss in your female ferret’s tail, it could be due to Alopecia. There are also other signs of hair loss, including clumps of hair in the ferret environment. Sometimes, it can also be seen within the ferret feces. Well, this is due to the ingestion of too much hair.
Your ferret should not ingest hair, which may lead to intestinal blockage. Not only does Alopecia look very unsightly, but it may also compromise the insulating & protective capacity of your pet score. This will further lead to unwanted stress or other health conditions in ferrets. Below are a few causes of Alopecia in ferrets that can help you understand why your female ferret is losing its hair from her tail.
10 Causes Of Alopecia
Natural Hair Loss.
Regarding ferrets, you should know that molting, also called natural hair loss, should occur twice a year. However, you should know that natural hair loss is usually associated with thinning, not complete hair loss from your ferret coat. This kind of molting is usually triggered by increased daylight hours and extreme temperatures.
Also, you should note that female ferrets are more likely to develop Alopecia than males. It is also more pronounced in intact ferrets that are unneutered. This hairless loss can also result from physical extraction, where your female ferret will pull either their own or another ferret’s hair out from the tail. If this is the case, it can be due to 3 reasons.
- May you have not spayed your female ferret, resulting in pulling her hair so she can use it as nesting material.
- Secondly, if you haven’t provided adequate housing, or two may ferret in one place, it will lead to stress, forcing the female to display abnormal compulsive hair chewing and over-grooming.
- Lastly, if you keep your female ferret with other cage mates, hair loss in the tail can also occur, especially due to rough play, fighting, and mating behavior.
You must also note other reasons that may cause Alopecia in ferrets. Sometimes, your ferret starts to pull its hair due to an infection or itchiness in its tail. Also, Alopecia is likely to occur in case of injury or disease, further disrupting the natural growth at the follicle. As I told you earlier, Alopecia in the female ferret can also be caused by adrenal gland disease.
According to Oathall Vet, however, there can be eight other causes:
- Genetic Disorder.
- Autoimmune Disorder.
- Allergic Reaction.
- Nutritional Deficiency.
- Bite wounds.
- Injuries like burns.
- Bacterial Fungal Or Parasitic Infections.
Diagnosis of Alopecia
If your ferret suffers from Alopecia, the veterinarian will be the best person to understand it. The veterinarian is likely to first ask about your ferret’s medical history and perform any necessary physical examination. Just looking at the pattern of hair loss of tails in female ferrets and the extent to which it has occurred will further help them pinpoint the exact culprits.
Also, you should be ready for any necessary test that may help your veterinarian diagnose alopecia’s cause in depth. There are few tests like microscopic or laboratory tests, but they are common to diagnose Alopecia. In addition to this, your ferret might be suffering from an autoimmune disorder, tumor, or internal disease that can be checked through biopsy & radiography.
When you consult your veterinarian, many tests will be done during the day. Make sure to ask for the test charges so you can be ready with a budget to help & treat your beloved pets’ discomfort & loss of hair. To know about the vet bills, read my article on ‘How much do ferret vet bills cost’?
Treatment of Alopecia
If you want to know the treatments available for Alopecia in ferrets, we are very lucky. Many treatments alleviate the symptoms. Depending on the cause, the treatment duration & the cost will vary. In most cases, Alopecia may be cured through environmental changes only when the veterinarian recommends specific husbandry or diet.
However, if they suffer from any fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infection, they will administer certain medication or directly apply it to your ferret, eliminating the cost. Unfortunately, if your ferret is suffering from internal causes like hormonal changes, your pet will require long-term medication or even surgery.
After reading this article, I hope you have all the information you need on the question, ‘Why is my female ferret losing hair on its tail?’. To help reduce the incidence of Alopecia and adrenal gland diseases, you should always ensure your ferret is happy & healthy all the time.
It would be best if you were feeding a high-quality diet to your pet and make sure they have proper & easy access to fresh, clean water at all times. If you want to know ‘where to buy ferret food’ that is healthy and nutritious, consider reading my article where we have also discussed ‘how much is ferret food.’ If possible, I will advise you to keep your ferret in a small group and prevent overcrowding.
Also, provide your ferret many opportunities to socialize, play & explore. Like any other animal, a pet ferret will also need plenty of exercise & ample mental stimulation regularly. Also, it would be best to consider minimizing the environment where parasites or other similar pathogen may thrive.
You can remove any soiled bedding or feces as soon as possible. Also, it is important that you regularly clean and dry the housing environment of your ferret. I hope all this information will help you further diagnose, treat, and prevent any further hair loss in the ferret from her tail.
If you find this article helpful, then consider sharing it. Your share will help many people learn about the possible causes of hair loss in ferret tails and what they should do about it. If you want to stay updated with the care & requirements of ferrets as pets, I will highly advise you to check my other articles. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.