Message Number: YG2874 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-23 14:13:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Hyperactivity in older ferret

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Shirley Hewett" <smhewett@b...>
> Skittles is a 12 year old female ferret who is currently boarding
with me. She is showing a behaviour which I have not seen in a
ferret before and that is about 4 times per day she has periods of
hyperactivity. For about 15 minutes she runs around for all the
world as though she is searching for something. She runs around
checking every nook and cranny and will not be distracted by food,
water, treats, cuddles, best buddy or anything. Sometimes she will
run around in a couple of circles before starting her "search mode"
again and occasionally she stops for half a minute or so as if to
catch her breath. She is deaf and her eyes are a little cloudy but
she can see. She is eating, drinking and toileting just fine. She
has the curved tail sometimes seen in older ferrets and her
muscularity, compared to younger ferrets, is somewhat diminished.
Her coat is normal and she sleeps well.
> Her owner indicates that she behaves the same way at home where she
is free range, as she is here. This is the third year that she has
boarded with me and she seems not to be in pain. (how can you tell
with ferrets sometimes?)


Having not seen a 12 year old, I am loathe to tell you what they
should act like. While this behavior does sound atypical, it is not
constant, and is not associated with any other localizing symptoms.
These days in the U.S. we have an approved drug for congnitive
disorders in dogs (somewhat like senility), and I have to admit I
wonder about this particular behavior, but I would be hesitant
treating it in this old a ferret. And it does sound like she is
getting a bit of exercise, which is ideal for the old ones.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List at

> Any ideas or suggested for treatments or tests would be gratefully
> Love & Dooks
> Shirley