Message Number: YG3313 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Jayson
Date: 2001-05-06 18:00:00 UTC
Subject: itchy, skinny ferret

Buddy the ferret is acting quite fine (eating, playing, being silly,
etc, etc) but he started itching more than usual about a month ago.

I contacted my vet, we determined it was not fleas and he suggested
childrens Benadryl to see what happened. I tried it and it seemed to
work a little bit, but I did not want to continue use after about a
week of time since it didn't seem to be a one time, permanent thing.

Things did not improve all the much. 2 weeks ago I bathed him, with
his usual shampoo/conditioner, and a lot of hair came out in the tub,
not in clumps, just all over. I thought it was unusual and it scared
me. I researched and read where normally ferrets shed their winter
coat and it is not unusual to have hair loss. I stopped worrying.

His hair loss is not in spots or any particular place, but you can
still pull out hairs with your finger tips real easily. Is spring
shedding something that goes on for a long period of time?

A few days after the bath, I thought he looked and felt like he had
lost weight. That was as far I was willing to let things go. I called
the vet and made an appointment. After being examined, no temp, fecal
was negative, no ear mites......the vet discovered a very small spot
on his skin above his left leg close to the chest. This is the area
where his main scratching seems to be concentrated.

We talked about mast cell tumors and he said it did not look like
that yet, but it could be. He gave a small injection of prednisone
(sp?) and said let's watch him over the weekend and see if that
helps. It has not. He still is very itchy.

Also, he has indeed lost weight, about 2/10ths of a pound. I read
where weight loss is normal this time of the year as well, but is
it? He weighed in around 2 pounds at his last check up which was
about 2 months ago.

He is playful, seems to act normal, but I just don't feel right about
things. I love my little boy very, very, much and I am worried, maybe
too much, but better safe than sorry.

I do not want his quality of life to deteriorate and I feel that this
itching is making him really uncomfortable and partially to blame as
to why he is losing weight because he can't sleep real well, and no
matter what he is doing he has to stop and scratch.

I am concerned. I know my vet is very capable and competent, but I
just wanted to throw out some flags to see what other people have to

I know as animals mature and age, things change and they develop in
different ways than one may be used to. Call me a paranoid father,
but I am really worried as to what is wrong and what to do.

To surmise:

Buddy is losing hair, has lost weight, is itchy more than normal (not
fleas) and he feels warm to me...although he has no fever. (maybe
because he has less hair and his body temp is more noticeable?) I am
very concerned. The vet says he is not saying this is a sign of
things to come in reference to adrenal disease, since Buddy is not
even 2 years old yet, but he wants to keep a close watch on him.

Anyone that has any suggestions or ideas, or has seen this in their
pet, please let me know what you think.

Well, my feet are being nipped and tickled as I sit here, I better go
before he gets anymore upset because he is not the center of my

My preferred email is: jayson87@m...

Thanks for your help!