If you’re wondering why ferret urine smells like ammonia, then you should know that all urine contains ammonia. However, concerning pet ferrets, the ammonia concentration in their urine tends to be very high. You must clean the urine immediately & thoroughly because it starts to evaporate, leaving a concentrated solution of ammonia giving off fumes.
In this article, I will discuss what’s normal & what’s not regarding ferret pee smell. If you are wondering why ferret pee smells foul, this article is for you. Here, we will discuss five major reasons ferret urine smells like ammonia and how to cope. So, without wasting time, let’s start with the basics.
Ferret Urine Smells Like Ammonia: 5 Reasons Why Ferret Pee Smell Foul
Usually, ferret urine is likely to exhibit some ammonia smell and is quite normal. However, the urine smells shouldn’t have any strong odor under normal conditions, even though it has some ammonia. For humans, the urine ammonia of ferrets is not good and can irritate our lungs.
However, if these smells get worse or too strong, underlying health problems can occur. Below, you will find some of that. But if your ferret urine smells like a little ammonia, there is nothing to worry about. And it would be best if you cleaned their pee as soon as possible.
Lack Of Water / Dehydration
If your ferret urine smells like ammonia, it can also be dehydrated. Ensure you provide enough water and easy access to drinking during the day & night time for your pet to prevent strong ammonia odor in their urine. When the ferrets are dehydrated, their urine can become concentrated and break into ammonia.
As I told you earlier, ammonia is quite an irritant to human lungs and is not good for our health. If your family members have weakened immune systems, they should keep their area free from ferret urine & hair. Ammonia is a very strong-smelling gas that can be unpleasant and allergic to humans.
According to the Unusual Pet Vets, if your ferret skin seems to be in a tinted shape or gradually returning to its normal state, they are likely to be dehydrated. According to them, most ferrets require 100 ml of water per kg of body weight in 24 hours. Skin Crossriggs Veterinary Clinic also suggests that dehydrated ferrets are likely to exhibit other symptoms as well:
- Sunken Eyes
- Dry Mucous Membrane
- Dryness & Stickiness Of The Gums
If your ferret is critically dehydrated, it will also have increased skin turgor, making the back of the neck continuously stand up and not lie flat again. If this is the case, I recommend you combat it using a syringe. However, this must be done under veterinary guidance & care.
Dehydration in ferrets should never be left untreated as it can be very dangerous for them. According to the National Institute of Health, if the ferret is severely dehydrated, it must be given fluids in two to three boluses administered in the subcutaneous space over the shoulders & back.
Another reason your ferret pee smells like ammonia or foul very hard could be due to a condition known as Urolithiasis. You should know that urinary tract infection tends to be very deadly for ferrets and must be addressed by an experienced veterinarian who has expertise & experience in ferret care.
Also, if you suspect your ferret is suffering from a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, get your pet examined by the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible. Many UTIs can cause ferrets to urinate more frequently, leading to a strong ammonia smell.
According to the Vetlexicon, urine tract infections usually occur due to bacteria, poor diet, incomplete voiding, or alkaline urine. If you suspect your ferret is suffering from a UTI, visiting a vet as soon as possible is important. To understand or identify if UTIs are the culprit behind the strong smell of ammonia in ferret urine, consider looking at the following symptoms:
- Urinating Too Frequently
- Straining to Urinate
- blood Tinged Urine
- Enlarged Bladder
- Mucus Plugs
- Pain On Palpation
Depending on your ferret’s condition, health status, and age, your veterinarian is likely to recommend diagnosis & tests that include urinalysis, ultrasonography, and radiography. Fortunately, there are many types of treatment available. However, obstruction may require surgery if the infection gets severe or complicated. Your veterinarian is likely to recommend some diabetes changes to prevent UTIs as well. A few of the simple treatment that comes with a good prognosis include:
- Retrograde Flushing of Ferrets
When researching the reasons behind the strong ammonia smell of ferret urine, I found out that ferret pee smells foul when it suffers from kidney problems. Like any other mammal, ferret has two kidneys that filter out toxins from their blood and excrete them via the urinary system.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, kidney cyst tends to be very common in adult ferrets, so watch out for that as well. If there is any problem with the kidney, your ferret urine will have a very hard smell of ammonia. According to the Veterinary Clinic And Exotic Animal Practices, you can notice the clinical signs of renal failure are very acute (in less than a few days duration compared to any other animal).
The most common cause of renal problems in ferrets is ethylene glycol, commonly found in cars & antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicity is also one of the most common toxicities in cats. If you keep your ferret in a garage or shed, they are more likely to develop kidney problems.
Regarding the treatment, Vetlexicon suggests that it is untreatable, and the clinical signs are only noticed when kidney damage becomes irreversible. Either way, your ferret will either require euthanasia or will pass away soon. You must contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of the following signs:
- Straining To Urinate
- Urinating Only Small Amounts or None At All
- Blood In The Urine
- Abdominal Pain
- Excessive Urination
Lastly, if your ferret is suffering from diabetes, it may also cause your pet to lose fluids, leading to dehydration and a strong ammonia smell in their urine. According to the National Institute of Health, spontaneous diabetes mellitus seems uncommon in ferrets but can happen. If you notice your ferret drinking lots of water, it is the most common sign of diabetes. According to the AVMA journal, if your ferret is suffering from diabetes, they’re likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Weight Loss Despite A Good Appetite
- Excessive Thirst
If your ferret is suffering from this condition, don’t worry because it can be resolved within weeks and doesn’t require any thorough treatment. Blood glucose concentration must be checked within two weeks to track improvement. I highly advise you to consider rubbing honey or corn syrup on your pet’s gums. According to the National Institute of Health, veterinarians may also recommend insulin therapy and no carbohydrate diet to treat diabetes in ferrets.
I hope you know why ferret urine smells like ammonia and what you should do if your ferret peel smells foul. You must first consult with your veterinarian as they are the best person with proper expertise & experience in diagnosing, treating, and recommending the best course of action.
If your ferret urine smell is not very hard, there is nothing to worry about unless you witness any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Always keep their habitat & play area clean from their UTIs. Every time your pet pee is in unwanted areas, you should consider cleaning it to prevent the concentration of ammonia in your home.
I hope this article helps you discover the reasons ferret pee smells foul. If you find this article helpful, then consider sharing it. Your share will help many people learn about why ferret urine smells like ammonia and how it affects them. To stay updated with the ferret care, requirements, & fundamentals, consider checking my other articles. Check my recently published post on this website to gather more valuable data on keeping ferrets as pets. See you in the next post, till then, take care, & good one.