Date: 2011-07-09 22:10:20 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Ferrets randomly getting sick
Ferrets as a rule, will start showing signs of illness by the time they are 4 years old. That's a generalization because illness can manifest in much younger ferrets, as well as, in considerably older ferrets.
A number of factors contribute to illness, i.e. early history, diet, environment, and breeding practices (genetics).
In other words it is not surprizing to find a 4 year-old ferret with an illness. Shelters/rescues that receive ferrets that have endured stressful histories and lack of veterinary care will see higher than normal numbers of ferrets with illness.
10 years of age in some breeds of dogs is considered advanced age, and we do know that pedigreed dogs are prone to a variety of diseases/illnesses depending on the breed. For example, Golden Retrievers have the highest rates of cancers, etc.
It may be a coincidence that you have experienced illness in all three of your animal companions simultaneously.
There are zoonoses that can be transmitted between species, including humans. For example, some viruses (e.g. H1N1) that can be contagious across species.
There are bacteria that can be transmitted across species, e.g. Salmonella.
However, it would appear that your vet has identified very specific illnesses in each of the animal companions.
Still not all vets are familiar with pathology/cytology results that are specific to ferrets. Here is a link to 'Controversy and Confusion in Interpretation of Ferret Clinical Pathology' by Bruce Williams, DVM, DAVCP - a world class ferret expert pathologist:
Discuss your concerns with your vet and ask her whether she thinks there is a possibility of a common contagion.
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