Message Number: YG3737 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-18 23:11:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Can ferrets get worms?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Ulrike" <ferretlove@n...> wrote:
> Hi
> It so happens that a few ferret lists that I'm on are discussing
worms at
> the moment. One list said that ferrets can't get worms at all and
> got this information from some vets. Then I'm on another list and
they seem
> to think that ferrets can get worms and somebody treats her ferrets
> garlic???

Dear Ulrike -

There are a number of worms that ferrets can actually get, but the
incidence is extremely low - due to the fact that most ferrets, at
least in the States are kept indoors, and many in other countries are
kept off the ground in wire cages, so the contact with feces is
failry small.

Worm are generally fairly species specific, howver there is one
notable exception - tapeworms. Tapeworms are spread between animals
by fleas, and if the ferret swallows the flea (it is more than just a
simple bite), then the eggs can hatch and your ferret will shed the
rice-like tapeworm segments. The condition is really not serious -
despite old wives tales to the contrary, tapeworms do little to no
damage to the host, being very happy to subsist on whateveris passing
through the gut at that moment. Tapeworms are easily treated.

Heartworms are another common worm (at least as worms go) in ferrets,
but that is a common thread on the FHL and aI refer you to the

Garlic is another old wives tale. It has no effect on parasites at
all, be they worms, fleas, or ticks, but may have an adverse effect
on you. Phew!

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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