Message Number: FHL1274 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Sukie Crandall"
Date: 2007-05-30 18:30:19 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Enriching the Life of a Single Ferret

a caution: ferrets have gotten giardia from aquaria, so take that into consideration when
weighing assorted factors.

To save me time all of the below are from the same expert, but there are likely more in the

from ferret expert veterinary pathologist, Dr. Bruce Williams:
I remember the case, as I was consulted on it. Giardia is a common
parasite of fish, resulting in no clinical signs, but lives in large
numbers in most aquairums.

In ferrets, Giardia has been incriminated in causing diarrhea.
(However, it may also be seen in ferrets with no clinical signs.)
But to be on the safe side, I always recomment that aquaria be

Fish are also commonly affected with mycobacteria, which can in rare
cases be passed on to ferrets who chew them up. While the
possibility is remote, it is also a reason not to allow the ferret
free access to the fishtank.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM

(Mycobacteria cause infections which can often be very serious and even fatal, for
example, TB is type of mycobacterium. Some types of mycobacteria affect lungs, some
affect intestines, some affect skin, etc.)

BEGIN QUOTE (from 6 years ago)
Here's a good one. It is not a good idea to let your ferret drink
out of the fish tank. Fish can transmit a parasite called Giardia to
your ferret, which has been incriminated as a cause of chronic
diarrhea. While you can identify Giardia in ferrets with perfectly
normal stools, and it has not been definitively identified in a
pathogen in ferrets, I would not purposely expose my ferret to it,
and I would take precautions to keep the ferret away from the fish

I have seen two cases of ferrets with Giardia who also drank out of
the fish tank. Both had diarrhea, which resolved following
appropriate Giardia treatment.

Giardia is most commonly acquired by ingesting water contaminated by
feces containing Giardia oocysts (this is the problem with ferrets
drinking out of fish tanks.) While tracking it in could conceivably
happen, the chances are fairly remote.

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