Ferrets are faced with many health challenges, but the most common among them is hair loss. If you have had ferrets or currently have one and have not experienced hair loss, you should probably count yourself lucky.
The hair loss may start gradually in a part of the body and later move to other parts of the body. Hair loss can sometimes be a minor situation that could respond to some basic treatment.
Other times it could be complicated and might require surgery.
So why do ferrets lose hair? Hair loss is caused by many factors, but the most common one is caused by Adrenal disease. The adrenal disease occurs among ferrets.
It is a serious medical condition that requires major surgical treatment. Other factors include allergic reactions, bacterial and parasitic infections, immune disorders, and an unbalanced diet.
Let us get to know more about what causes ferrets to lose their hair.
Why Ferrets Lose Their Hair
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a serious medical condition among ferrets. As earlier mentioned, hair loss is caused by adrenal disease. Some could be minor, and others could be severe, requiring surgical treatment.
Adrenal disease is a hormonal problem that is caused by the overproduction of hormones by the adrenal gland. Over 40% of ferrets have this problem, both male and female.
Ferrets between the age of 3-4 years’ experience hair loss. The initial symptom appears mainly at the back end, tail, rump, or ferret chest.
The symptom can persist if not treated, and could lead to complete hair loss known as alopecia.
Other symptoms from the female ferret may include the enlarged vulva, while male ferrets could have enlarged prostate glands causing difficulty in urinating. You may also experience behavioral changes due to the overproduction of the hormonal glands.
There has been lots of talk on why ferrets’ glands become enlarged. As much as this is a common problem as to why ferrets lose their hair, this could be due to their lifestyle when being domesticated.
Over the years, scientists have come out with three theories that could cause hair loss on ferrets. The first is as a result of exposure to sunlight when domesticated.
Ferrets spend about 75% of their time in the living burrow. The regular presence of light plays a role in their gland enlargement.
It could also be genetic, neutering, or spaying in their reproductive organs.
Symptoms Of Hair Loss In Ferrets
The primary symptom of alopecia is hair loss. Ferrets are hairy, and almost every part of their body consists of hair.
When adrenal hits your ferret at first, she may lose all hairs at once, or the condition may startup slowly and become worse over time.
Alopecia may affect the entire body or be limited to some parts of the body, such as the tail. In most cases, it occurs in patches in some parts of the body, such as the tail.
However, the degree of hair loss may determine the severity of the problem and the cause, which can help you determine if it naturally happened or happened due to other illnesses.
Causes Of Hair Loss In Ferrets
They are several causes of hair loss among ferrets. However, one can classify the condition as either primary (happened on its own) or secondary (occur due to some illness).
When it happens all over the body, it is a common sign of genetic or metabolic conditions. However, it is a parasitic or bacterial infection when it happens in patches.
Below are major causes of alopecia (naturally occurring or some other illnesses):
- Allergic reactions
- Bacterial and parasitic infections
- Immune disorders
- Unbalanced diet
- Adrenal diseases
Ferret Hair Loss Diagnosis
It is very difficult for new ferret owners to understand the side reactions of their little buddy. There are lots of questions regarding ferrets losing hair. It is so unfortunate that most people are ignorant of the cause.
If your ferret begins to lose hair, regardless if it occurs in patches or on the whole body, the first step in action is to take her to the vet. Your vet doctor will first find the hair loss’s underlying cause by merely looking at it and further conduct a series of tests to be certain.
The test may include blood and chemistry analysis for anemia, immune disorder, infection, hormone, or steroid imbalance.
To make sure the cause is not from an unbalanced diet, your vet may ask you about your ferret’s diet. If everything looks fine from the test result, your vet may be forced to test for an adrenal disease, which is the most common cause of hair loss.
The test will be carried out by performing an ultrasound test to detect any tumor presence, causing excessive hormone production. If any is found, that is the root cause of the hair loss, and treatment will begin immediately.
Treating Hair Loss In Ferrets
Since causes can vary, you would need to wait for your diagnosis to see which treatment is recommended by your veterinarian.
If the hair loss is due to an unbalanced diet, your vet will make a diet plan for you, which needs to be strictly followed. If it is caused by infection, drugs might be prescribed to stop the hair loss.
A topical cream can be used when it is as a result of parasites.
If the adrenal disease is critical and when that is detected, your doctor would need to surgically remove the tumors. However, suppose your pet has undergone any surgery before.
In that case, your doctor might choose an alternative means by injecting the ferret with Lupron Depot. The Lupron Depot will help shrink the tumor to help alleviate the symptoms.
If the issue persists, please visit your doctor for further analysis.
Is There A Prevention To Ferret Hair Loss?
There is no specific method to prevent hair loss from occurring in domesticated ferrets. However, you would need to keep your ferret healthy with a balanced diet.
Try as much as possible to replicate their lifestyle in the wild while being domesticated. Ferrets spend most of their time staying in the burrow, giving it a dark environment.
You need to keep to that by making sure she is not always exposed to light.
Also, make sure you feed your ferret with sufficient protein and maintain clean hygiene to where they sleep or play. All this will help lessen the possibility of experiencing hair loss from your ferret.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Ferrets Get Hair Adrenal Disease
Ferret experiences an adrenal disease when the adrenal gland produces excess hormones, thus resulting in hair loss.
Can Ferret Hair Grow Back?
After a surgical operation or other medical treatment, it might take a while for the hair to grow back. However, if the ferret is in its rapid hair growth stage, that is, during the winter or late spring, it would only take a few days for the hair to grow.
Can Ferret Lose All The Hair
A ferret can lose all her hair, depending on the condition of the illness. Also, if the condition is not properly managed, the ferret could lose all the hairs completely until treated.
Is It Normal For Ferret To Lose Hair?
It is normal for ferrets to lose hair. It is a hormonal problem that occurs among 40% of ferrets between 3-4 years of age.
Can Ferret Die Of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by several factors. As much as minor causes such as an unbalanced diet might not be death threatening, adrenal disease is. Adrenal disease is chronic and can lead to diet if not treated.
Is There A Prevent Measure To Ferret Hair Loss
No specific or standard preventive measure for hair loss. It occurs, but you can try to twerk their lifestyle a little bit to match that in the wild.
Avoid exposing them to light always, and maintaining a balanced diet will help reduce the outcome of hair loss.
Hair loss is a critical issue among ferrets. So close monitoring of your ferret will enable you to detect the symptoms earlier before it worsens.
As much as there are no preventive measures, maintaining quality hygiene and properly balancing their diet will go a long way in eliminating its occurrence.
Also, try to make their home feel like home when in the wild. Give them adequate sleep and make sure they do not always get the light.
Visit your vet doctor for a regular checkup regarding their health and make sure you avoid stressing them if they undergo an operation. Wait until they are fully healed. Ferret
Most importantly, do not contradict the information present in this article to your vet doctor’s professional advice to you.