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Ferret Not Eating Or Drinking: 5 Causes, Signs & Treatment Options

A ferret not eating or drinking is a worrisome sign for all owners. If you want to know ‘why my ferret is not eating or drinking,’ this article is for you. A ferret with inappetence is a very worrisome sign that requires immediate action from owners and, sometimes, veterinary attention. Therefore, this article will discuss five reasons why my ferret is not eating or drinking. I will also discuss the symptoms and the probability treatment options that can help you get your pet to its normal health if you want to learn why the ferret is not eating or drinking.


Ferret Not Eating Or Drinking: 5 Causes, Signs & Treatment Options 




If your ferret is not eating or drinking, they might suffer from anorexia. If you have recently made any changes in your pet’s environment, it can be very stressful for your ferret, and you may develop anorexia. Anorexia Is a term that describes a situation where our pet stops eating or is physically unable to eat. Talking about the causes, there can be many.




According to the Mayne Vet and Vetlexicon, below are a few causes of anorexia in ferrets.


  1. Blockage in The Digestive System
  2. Thiamine Deficiencies
  3. Riboflavin Deficiencies
  4. Diarrhea 
  5. Influenza Virus
  6. Gastrointestinal Problem 
  7. Tumour  
  8. Stress
  9. Depression




According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, some of the most prominent clinical signs that a ferret is likely to exhibit in case of anorexia include:


  • Cranial Abdominal Pain 
  • Melena 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bruxism
  • Hypersalivation 
  • Inability Or Lack Of Desire To Eat
  • Fever, etc


No matter what the cause, loss of appetite in ferrets can seriously impact your pet’s health, especially if it lasts 24 hours or more. Additionally, if your ferret is younger than six months, they’re more prone to health issues brought on by anorexia.




If your ferret is not eating or drinking, you must get it physically checked at the nearest vet clinic. If it has been more than 24 hours, it’s an emergency for you & your pet. Depending on the situation, your pet’s condition & age, a veterinarian is likely to diagnose your pet with physical examinations and tests, which include:


  1. Buccal Exam
  2. Auscultation 
  3. Abdominal Palpation 
  4. Checking Temperature & Weight
  5. X-ray 
  6. Fecal Examination 
  7. Complete Blood Panel & Urinalysis


Depending on the diagnosis results, a ferret suffering from anorexia will likely be supported by a specific or supportive treatment. If your ferret is suffering from mild anorexia, it is treatable at home. But, you must consult a veterinarian, who might advise specific medication or food for faster recovery.

Depending upon the duration & severity of anorexia, some ferrets may also be put under anesthetic to fix any underlying cause. If there is any blockage that is causing anorexia, it will also require surgery. A ferret may take days or even weeks before starting again to eat. Hence, follow all the recommendations advised by the veterinarian.




Another reason you, a ferret, may not eat or drink could be dehydration. It may sound weird, but it is true. First, you should note that dehydration makes a ferret feel tired and lethargic, which can decrease your pet’s appetite. Also, dehydration is known to cause dry mouth, making your pet uncomfortable and making it difficult to eat or drink.

Plus, if there is any electrolyte imbalance, tone may suffer from loss of appetite & inability to drink or eat. Dehydration is known to cause electrolyte imbalances, too. This should not be left unattended because of the possible severe effect on their body. Pet Care Veterinary Hospital says that ferrets with appetite loss can become very weak when dehydrated, losing a significant amount of body weight quickly. Also, you might notice their stool being very seedy, liquid, or mucousy.




Talking about the causes, it is quite difficult to find the actual Culprits of Dehydration. Ferret is very crude and has simplistic sweat glands that quickly dehydrate. Dehydration is especially realistic in ferrets during times of hot weather. That’s why we always recommend keeping fresh food available for your ferret to prevent overheating or becoming dehydrated.




According to the Northwest Exotic Pet, if your ferrets suffer from dehydration, they might have increased skin turgor if you find the screen of your ferret’s neck continuously standing up & not lying down flat again. Also, your ferret gums are likely to be very dry and sticky.




Regarding treatment available for dehydration, Crossriggs Veterinary Clinic recommends fluid therapy to help refer to hydration in the ferret. If you suspect your ferret suffers from dehydration for an extended time, like over 12-24 hours, it is important to consult a veterinarian.

As Washington Ferret Rescue & Shelter suggests, Veterinary will likely instruct more fluid than you might think. It is best to provide your ferret with flute therapy for at least 24 hours in a properly divided amount, half in the morning & half in the evening. Also, it would be best if you kept the fluid under 98°F. If your ferret is severely dehydrated, nutritional support and hospice care may also be required to recover their appetite & optimal health. 




There is also a huge possibility that your ferret is under some stress that is causing them to lack appetite. They might be stressed if your ferret hides more than usual or seems uninterested in eating




When researching, I learned that there can be numerous reasons for stress in ferrets, but BeChewy suggests a a few of the basics mentioned below.


  1. Overcrowding 
  2. Noises 
  3. Light Pollution 
  4. Presence of Aggressive Pets 
  5. Rough Handling 
  6. Confinement 
  7. Fireworks 
  8. Loud Music 
  9. Strangers 
  10. Unfamiliar Environment 
  11. Sudden Change in their Environment 




If your ferret is indeed stressed, they’ll not only stop eating but also exhibit other symptoms. As per RSPCA, the ferret will likely exhibit the following symptoms under stress.


  1. Biting 
  2. Hiding 
  3. Screaming 
  4. Fleeing 
  5. Hissing 
  6. Panting 
  7. Scratching




Talking about the treatment or what you should do about stress in your ferret, the first thing you should do is find the stress triggers. Ferrets have frequently noticed cowering down & looking sideways or over their shoulders at upsetting things. If this is the case, eliminate the thing causing stress in your ferrets.

Other than this, if any guest or additional pet is invited to your home, you should consider keeping your ferret in a confined but familiar location where they can relax. Also, Stortvet recommends calming your pet down by gently swaying them backward or forward. This will further help your pet relax as well as enjoy a lot. Other than this, it gives easy access to their belongings like:


  1. Litter Box 
  2. Cage 
  3. Bedding 
  4. Hiding Place 
  5. Food 
  6. Water 
  7. Toys 


Consult a veterinarian if your ferret doesn’t want to start eating or drinking. There is a huge possibility that your ferret is suffering from any underlying health issue, causing them a lot of stress, further leading to loss of appetite.




Another reason why your ferrets might not be eating or drinking could be due to pain. When we talk about pain in ferrets, it is also often associated with a broad range of conditions, including health issues. 




According to the Veterinary Clinic Exotic Animal Practice, some of the most frequent but worrisome cause of pain in a ferret tends to be:


  • Acute or Chronic Inflammatory Disease 
  • Neoplasia 
  • Trauma 
  • Foreign Object Blockage in their Small Intestine 
  • Iatrogenic Causes




Regarding the symptoms, Boston University suggests that a ferret in pain is likely to become lethargic & stop bodily grooming. In addition to this, if your ferret is not showing pain or distress by crying, they are likely to signal pain with behavior changes like stopping eating. As per Holistic Ferret Forum, other signs of pain in ferret are:


  1. Squinting Eyes 
  2. Screaming 
  3. Crying 
  4. Whimpering 
  5. Moaning 
  6. Teeth Grinding
  7. Trembling




Regarding the treatment, the National Institute of Health recommends getting your pet checked at the nearest veterinarian, as they may require pain management as a part of comprehensive veterinary care. Other than this, Researchgate suggest that many opioid drugs are safe for administering pain relief in ferret, which includes the following:


  • Butorphanol
  • Buprenorphine  
  • Morphine




Lastly, another reason you are ferret stopped eating & drinking could be due to infection. You should note that many bacterial infections are found in ferrets and other carnivores. 




Maybe your ferret is suffering from bacterial disease, viral infection, fungal infection, or parasitic infestation, causing them to be unable to eat or lose appetite. However, bacterial infections are not as prevalent & common as viral infections in Pet ferrets. But, Bishops Stortford Vets suggest that there can be a number of bacteria that may cause varieties of infections & diseases in your pet ferrets, which include:


  • Dysentery
  • Botulism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Abscesses
  • Infections (due to bite wounds or other injuries) 




Talking about the symptoms, the MSD veterinary manual suggests that an infected ferret may not exhibit any clinical signs immediately. If your pet ferret suffers from any viral infection, there is a huge chance that clinical signs will appear after 48 hours. However, the National Institute of Health suggests that your ferret is likely to exhibit the following symptom if it is suffering from any kind of disease or infection:


  1. Nasal Discharge (Serious)
  2. Sneezing 
  3. Fever 
  4. Malaise 
  5. Anorexia 
  6. Bruxism 
  7. Diarrhea 
  8. Melena 
  9. Hypersalivation 
  10. Dehydration 
  11. Weight Loss
  12. Lethargy 
  13. Cranial Abdominal Palpation 




It is quite tough to tell exactly what is causing the infection in your ferret without a proper diagnosis at a veterinarian clinic. Therefore, visit the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and effective treatment based on diagnostic results.




I hope now you know what is causing the issue. If your ferret is not eating or drinking, your pet must be examined/diagnosed at the nearest veterinary care. After proper diagnosis, veterinarians can advise the best course of action or the following treatment, depending upon the underlying cause.

I have tried my best to give you all the information you need on why my ferret is not eating or drinking. Suppose you find this article, share it. Always remember that therapy, medication, or recommendations mentioned above are for educational purposes only. You must avoid giving your ferret any medication or therapy without a veterinarian’s consultation or guidance.

If you find this article helpful, then consider sharing it. Your share will help many people learn what is causing the issue behind ferrets not eating and drinking and what they should do about it. This article will give them an idea of what might happen to their beloved pet. To stay updated with ferret care & requirements for their wellbeing, consider checking my other guides shared on this website, too. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.