Being a responsible ferret owner, you should pay attention to your pet’s behavior, including how they walk. You get very worried when you notice your ‘ferret walking weird’ or ‘ferret walking with back arched; this can be a concerning situation, especially if there is any underlying problem.
In this article, we will discuss why my ferret is walking weirdly and seven reasons ferrets walk with their backs arched. Along with that, we will also be talking about what you can do about it and how you can prevent it from recurring. So, without wasting time, let’s begin with learning the reasons behind ferrets walking weirdly.
Ferret Walking With Back Arched: 7 Reasons Why Ferret Walking Weird
Like any other weasels, ferrets are also known to walk with their backs arched and hop around when they feel excited. If you are an animal lover, you might be familiar with this behavior of ferrets, also known as a war dance. In the Wild, the ferret does this to confuse their prey.
Sometimes, they also behave like this when feeling playful or enjoying themselves. If your ferrets walk with an arched back while making clicking sounds, there is nothing to worry about. It’s not uncommon to also notice the ferret losing its balance when war dancing and bumping into objects.
When ferret starts walking weirdly, it also indicates any underlying issue with their spine. If your ferret walks with an arched back, I will highly advise you to get it checked by the nearest veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what issue is causing your ferret to walk weirdly. Some of the most common spinal issues that have been frequently noticed in the ferret, causing them to walk weirdly or with their back arched, includes:
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Due to trauma or aging, your ferret may suffer from intervertebral disc disease. To diagnose, your ferret veterinarian will likely perform radiography, myelography, computer tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging to track the severity. Depending upon your ferret’s condition & age, your veterinarian is likely to recommend the following treatment:
- Hospice Care
According to the National Institute of Health, physiotherapy can also be used as a principal treatment modality in ferrets. However, make sure that you avoid giving any medication or treatment to your ferret without the guidance of a veterinarian.
Spinal Cord Tumour
Another spinal issue causing your ferret to walk with its back Arched could be a spinal cord tumor. You should know that many types of tumors affect ferrets. Chordoma & chondrosarcoma tumors, however, are known to highly affect the ferret spine and upper back.
No matter what type of tumor is causing your ferret to walk weirdly, both are known to be very smooth & slow-growing conditions. However, you should note that some can be very hard, and there is no cause for these two tumorous conditions. To diagnose the issue causing the tumor, the veterinarian is likely to perform a complete physical examination on your pet.
They may also take a thorough history of your pet and order a blood chemical profile. Magnetic resonance imaging will likely be performed if your ferret suffers from Chordoma. Regarding the treatment available, petMD suggests that Chordoma must be treated on an inpatient basis, including surgery. But, if the tumor has caused paralysis in your pet, the recovery time will be affected depending upon the security of the tumor.
Spinal Cord Injury
The ferret walking with back Arched could also be due to spinal cord injury. You should know that a severe spinal injury can also affect your ferret’s nerves. Even though your pet might not exhibit any pain symptoms, they may stop moving around.
According to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, veterinarians may also recommend cage rest. Plus, Oathall Vets suggests that treatment is very limited depending on the severity of spinal cord disease. If your pet’s spinal cord seems to be intact, you are fortunate enough to get your pet to recover to some degree but may not be able to recover fully. On the other hand, veterinarians may recommend euthanasia to prevent your pet’s suffering.
You should note that ferret walking weirdly can also be due to hypoglycemia when your pet’s blood sugar level drops very low. This may happen for numerous reasons, like your pet not eating enough or not getting enough exercise. Your pet might also have an underlying medical condition like insulinoma, which might be causing severe hypoglycemia. According to the Highcroft Veterinary Referrals, if your ferret is suffering from insulinoma or hypoglycemia, it is likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Dazed & Glassy-eyed Stare
- Lethargy, weakness
Regarding treatment, Avian and exotic animal care suggest offering a small honey or corn syrup using an oral syringe. However, if your ferret has collapsed, you must rub the honey or corn syrup on their gum. However, make sure to avoid getting bitten.
On the other hand, if you are a ferret exhibiting seizure symptoms, avoid putting anything in their mouth, and get your pet at the nearest emergency vet clinic. Depending on the severity, a veterinarian may recommend slowly administering a bolus of 33% glucose or 50% dextrose solution (2–3 mL).
Injury Or Pain In Their Abdomen
Sometimes, your ferret also walks weirdly due to pain or injury in the abdomen. You should know that ferret weird walking patterns and back arching has always been associated with injury to the spine or other organs in their abdomen. If the injury or the pain seems very severe in your ferret, get them diagnosed & treated at the nearest veterinarian because it may cause shock.
Shock can be a life-threatening condition that keeps your ferret from being active, losing their appetite, or having difficulty breathing. If this is the case, call for emergency veterinary care. To identify if your ferret has any injury or pain in their abdomen, you should consider touching them. Something is wrong if your ferrets seem to run away when you touch their abdomen. So, without wasting time, visit the nearest vet clinic.
Derrets may walk weirdly due to underlying diseases that are getting severe daily. Call the veterinarian immediately if your ferret suffers from the following diseases.
According to the Animal House of Chicago, Stons will likely lose its appetite and become lethargic if it suffers from canine distemper virus. Some of the most telltale signs of Canine distemper virus in ferrets include:
- Reddening And Thickening Of The Skin Near Chin, Lips, And Sometimes Anal & Inner Upper Thigh Areas.
- Arched back
- Respiratory Problems
Unfortunately, Texas A&M University suggests no treatment for distemper in ferrets. However, supportive care could be given, but death is likely to occur within 2 to 4 weeks after coming into contact with this virus. Therefore, you must consider preventive vaccination for the most successful treatment of these diseases. If one of your pets is affected by distemper, get the other needs vaccinated properly. According to Today’s Veterinary Practice, there is currently & only Purevax Ferret Distemper Vaccine available for vaccination against ferret distemper. Other than this, Animal House of Chicago suggests that veterinarians may recommend the following supportive care:
- Extensive Nursing Care
West Nile Virus
Another common reason behind ferrets walking with backs arched could be due to West Nile virus infection. However, this virus usually affects poultry but can also be transmitted to ferrets. According to the MSG veterinary manual, there is no treatment for this virus infection, but supportive care can be given. If your ferret suffers from West Nile virus, they will likely exhibit the following symptoms.
- Neurological Problem
- Loss Of Appetite
- Weird Walking
Regarding supportive care, your veterinarian is likely to recommend ferrets that exhibit symptoms of West Nile virus infection, including:
- Parenteral fluids
- Confinement in a padded case in the case of Caesar
- Assistant feeding
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no antibiotic can treat this virus in ferrets. However, you can provide rest, fluids, and some over-the-counter pain medication to relieve some symptoms in your ferret, but only after consulting a veterinarian.
Back Pain As They Age
If your ferret is getting older, they’re likely to walk wear or with their back arched due to back pain. Ferrets over three years of age are likely also to develop dilated cardiomyopathy that might affect their mobility. Some of the other common causes of back pain in old ferrets include:
- Degenerative joint disease
Well, if your ferret is aging, there is nothing you can do besides giving them some supportive care. The old-aged ferret is likely to walk weirdly or with their back arched to avoid putting pressure on their back. You may also witness your ferret limping or diffusing to move. If your ferret is aging & walking weirdly, take it to the nearest vet for a proper diagnosis of the cause and the best possible course of treatment.
Ferrets suffering from posterior paresis also suffer from generalized weakness, which makes them lose the normal upward arch in their back. This helps the long axis of your pet’s body become parallel to the ground when it is standing or walking. According to the petMD, metabolic disease seems to be the most common cause of posterior paresis. However, there can also be other possible causes, such as:
- Cardiac Disease
- Traumatic Injury
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
According to the National Institute of Health, physical therapy is very important if your ferret suffers from posterior paresis. It is best to consult a veterinarian before concluding what’s the culprit behind your ferret walking weirdly or with its back arched.
You must first consult with your veterinarian regarding your ferret walking weirdly. Young ferret walking with arched backs always exhibits something wrong with your pet, which can also be deadly. I have given my best to explain the reason behind this condition and what treatments are available. You must note that this article is for educational purposes only.
It would be best never to attempt to diagnose or treat any condition in your ferret because you might do more harm than good. Always refer your beloved pet to an experienced & reputed vet. If you find this article helpful, then consider sharing. If you want to stay updated with the ferret care & requirements to prevent future issues as you age, consider reading my other helpful guides on this website. Do check my recently published articles on ferret care. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.