You are not alone if you are wondering why my ferret keeps falling over. A ferret falling over is not good, and something is wrong with their health. The first thing you should do is visit the nearest vet clinic with your ferret for proper diagnosis & treatment.
In this article, I will help you learn five reasons ‘why my ferret keeps falling over,’ along with the probable treatment and prevention tips. However, if your pet looks severely sick, call the emergency vet clinic & ask for an immediate appointment. Also, let them know about your pet’s current situation. Now, without wasting time, let’s discover the causes behind my ferret falling over and what you can do about it.
My Ferret Keeps Falling Over 7 Causes With Symptoms & Treatment Options
Brain Or Spinal Injuries
Ferret suffering from any brain or spinal injury may lose coordination & fall over. Just like us, the brain & spinal cord of the ferret also control all its movement. When these structures are injured or damaged, your pet cannot walk properly, as the brain & spinal organs will fail to send the correct signals to the muscles.
This can also lead to ataxia or a lack of coordination. According to the Oathall Vets, if your story suffers from spinal injury, it will first manifest paralysis. If your pet keeps falling over or suffering while walking, the spinal cord will likely be severely injured.
In this case, their nerves will be affected too. It’s common for ferrets to injure themselves when playing, especially if they fall from a height. Also, younger ferrets are more at risk of damaging their spinal cord & brain due to poor bone mineralization. Also, if your ferret is middle-aged & suffering from poor eyesight, they’re more susceptible to falls. Hence, look out for the following symptoms if your ferret is suffering from any injuries in these structures:
- Problems With Balance & Coordination
- Weakness Or Paralysis Of The Limbs
In addition to the above symptoms, your ferret may have difficulty urinating or defecating, accompanied by changes in behavior like aggression or lethargy. If your pet exhibits these symptoms, contact the veterinarian promptly. A few of the most common causes of spinal injuries or brain in ferrets of all ages & genders include:
- Trauma Like Being Hit By A Car or Falling From A High Place.
- Degenerative Disease Like Syringomyelia.
- Toxicity like Lead Or Mercury Poisoning
- Inflammatory Diseases Like Arthritis or Lupus
Sometimes, ferret suffers from brain or spinal injury due to some infections like meningitis or encephalitis. To diagnose it properly, you should contact the nearest veterinary clinic that specializes in ferret care & treatment.
Lack of coordination in ferrets that makes them keep falling over when trying to walk or run around could also be due to infection or parasites. According to the National Institute of Health, the most common infection that causes a lack of coordination in ferrets is Clostridium botulinum type C endotoxin. If your ferret is suffering from this infection, it will further exhibit signs like:
The treatment specifically targets the ferret suffering from the abovementioned symptoms. However, your veterinarian will likely follow a standard treatment we frequently use for cats & dogs in managing a similar condition. If your ferret has a seizure, the treatment will be directed toward seizure captivity.
In addition to this, if your veterinarian finds the glucose level in the ferret lower than 60 mg/dl, they’re likely to give an intravenous bolus of 50% dextrose solution (diluted 1:1 in crystalloid fluid) at a dose of 2 to 5 mL/kg or titrate. Well, this is just an example and only for educational purposes.
Hence, it would be best if you were always referred to an experienced veterinarian specializing in ferret care for a proper diagnosis & best treatment. On the other hand, if your ferret is suffering from severe parasite infestation, it will also lead to discoordination in movement. Hence, it’s best to consult a professional.
I don’t know if you know this, but if you are not following a proper diet regimen for your ferret, they may suffer from nutritional deficiency that may lead to low blood sugar. If your ferret does suffer from hypoglycemia or anemia, their muscles are likely to be affected severely, leading to coordination with movement. The most common causes of hypoglycemia tend to be the following:
- Endocrine like Insulinoma or Lactogenic
- Hepatic Disease like Cancer, Sepsis, or severe hepatitis
- Severe Malnutrition or Starvation
According to Verfolio, if your ferret suffers from hypoglycemia or a condition called insulinoma, a veterinarian may administer a slow bolus of 50% dextrose intravenously after blood glucose evaluation at 1 to 2 ml/kg dose until a favorable response. Also, petMD suggests that two types of treatment are available for hypoglycemia.
One is given when hypoglycemia is occurring to raise blood sugar immediately. But, in case of serious symptoms, you should consider rubbing corn syrup, honey, or 50% dextrose inside the cheek & gums of your pet using cotton swag. However, I highly advise you to consult with the veterinarian and do it under their observation.
There is a high chance that your vet may want your pet to visit their clinic periodically & monitor the signs of a return or progression of hypoglycemia. Talking about the symptoms, if your ferret is suffering from hypoglycemia, they’re likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Muscle Twitching
- Unsteadiness & Nausea
- Posterior Partial Paralysis
- Exercise Intolerance
Inner Ear Trauma
Another reason could be inner ear trauma. If loud noises surround your ferret, ear injury can happen. Sometimes, your ferret also suffers from an ear injury when there are any changes in air pressure or foreign objects lodged in their ears. According to the Ron Hines Vetspace, if your ferret is suffering from ear trauma, they’re likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Scratching its Ear
- Shaking its Head
- Hearing Loss.
An inner ear infection usually occurs in Pet ferrets due to ear mites infestation, called Otodectes cynotis. According to Pet Coach, if your ferret suffers from ear mites infestation, you will likely notice dark red ear wax in large quantities. According to the Ness Exotic Wellness Centre, you should never leave your ferret inner ear infection untreated, as it can also have irreversible inner ear damage.
According to the VCA hospitals, no ferrets-specific drugs can help you manage ear mites in your let. However, after consulting a veterinarian, you might be given a product designed for dogs & cats. The most common topical medications that can help get rid of ear mites are said to be Ivermectin® & Revolution®.
Disturbances In Blood Pressure
Ingestion Of Toxins
Another reason my ferret keeps falling over could be the injection of toxins. The toxin can cause ferrets to lose their coordination ability and make them fall over. Many types of toxins are known to damage the ferret brain & nervous system, leading to ataxia or a lack of coordination. According to the RSPCA, if your ferret is suffering from toxicity, they’re likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- High Temperature & Blood Pressure
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm
If you live in a very hot & humid region, your pet might suffer from heat stroke, leading them to fall over. You should know that heat stroke is also manifested by open-mouth breathing & elevated rectal temperature. If your ferret is suffering from heat stroke, it is a life-threatening emergency that requires veterinary care immediately.
To cool your pet rapidly, you should first wrap their feet with a towel soaked in cold water. Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, occurs in a ferret when its body temperature exceeds 104° to 105°F (40° to 40.6°C). According to the Garston Vets, if your ferret is suffering from heat stroke, they’re likely to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Unable To Walk
- Severe Lethargy
- Lying Flat On The Floor
- Excess Mucus/Drool
- Gasping Or Shallow Breathing
- footpads Turning Red
- Glassy Eyed
- Red Or Flushed Appearance
- Mouth Hanging Open.
If ferrets exhibit any of the following symptoms, cool them with water. You can also consider putting ice cubes in your ferret drinking bowl several times on a hot day to prevent heat stroke. Ferrets can’t sweat or pant, which can help them cool down. Therefore, your ferret will only rely on you for help.
Vitamin E Or B12 Deficiency
Also, if you are not feeding your ferret with proper diet & supplements, they may suffer from nutrient deficiencies like vitamin E or B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause your ferret a severe deficiency in the process of cell division as well as anemia. On the other hand, the Veterinary Nurse suggests that Vitamin E deficiency can cause steatitis in ferrets.
However, this deficiency is more prevalent in ferrets fed raw meat or fish containing rancid fats. If you are feeding your ferret with a kibble diet, it is unlikely to occur. However, if you still suspect that your ferret is suffering from ataxia that can lead them to fall over continuously, make sure to refer to the nearest vet clinic.
A deficiency in vitamin E is also known to cause nerve damage, which may result in ataxia. Without vitamin B12, on the other hand, the ferret body will fail to make red blood cells, which will again cause anemia, resulting in ataxia. For proper diagnosis, refer to the nearest veterinary care.
Now I hope you have all the knowledge around the question ‘why is my ferret keeps falling over’ and what you should do about it. The very first thing that you need to do is to check whether a ferret is suffering from heat stroke or not. If yes, keep your pet cool.
On the other hand, if it is not heat stroke, I will advise you to consult a professional veterinarian who specializes in ferret care & treatment. They’re the best person to help you diagnose any condition with the best course of action to keep your ferret healthy, happy & live long.
After reading this article, I hope you have all the information you need about why my ferret keeps falling over. Note that this guide is only for educational purposes and is not intended to recommend medications or professional advice on pets. I have written this article to give you an idea about what might be happening with your pet so you can identify the culprit and help your vet diagnose the problem properly for effective treatment.
If you find this article helpful, then consider sharing it. Check my other helpful guide to stay updated with ferret Care & management. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.