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How can ferret tell if he is in pain

How can ferret tell if he is in pain?

Ferrets are sensitive and have the same emotions as humans. But it is a bit difficult to understand their pain as they cannot verbally tell you. They also cry in the reaction of pain and distress but don’t expose and hide the symptoms. Here we know how can ferret tell if he is in pain?

The polecats (ancestors of ferrets) are alone animals. So it’s unnecessary to call out someone for help when in pain. So the ferrets don’t vocalize pain or distress until they have an injury that means they are low respondent to the pain.

How can ferret tell if he is in pain?

Ferrets usually hide when in pain or distress or hurt by some injury. Even if you try to hold them they keep themselves away. You can get to know the ferret is in pain. When they feel like (squinting eyes, trembling, teeth grinding, whimpering, moaning, crying, and screaming). You can also check the pulse rate is 25-30 with increased and shallow breathing.

When a ferret is in pain. He flattened on the floor, sleeping constantly, floppiness or limping and of course, bites you even. Because of the fear in response if you touch it so be careful while examining it or take it to the vet. It also unusual or obsessively start licking a particular area and looks lethargic.

Quantifying ferret pain and distress

You cannot access how much the pain is in your ferret. How much the injury hurts it is the same as humans like people react differently to the same injury. You can say that the tolerance of pain, levels of excitement and fear or anger exhibits at very high. Since tolerance is not an absence of pain so you can only assume ferrets pain is similar to humans.

Causes of pain and distress in ferrets

There could be many reasons for distress in ferrets just like humans. As most people think surgery is painful so as the ferret feels. Ferrets are vulnerable when injured from moderate to severe they cry for some time. Then silent like grave even the wound is deep enough. Don’t assume that if your ferret is injured won’t play in pain. They will keep playing around physically until collapsed.

If you have doubt that your pet is not good then it must not be good. So you better assume all injuries are painful just like you feel for yourself. Injuries can cause pain like (broken bones, swellings, loss of function, bruising, dental pain, fracture, worn enamel, and damaged teeth).

Since metal cages have hard floors which can cause pain in footpads of aged ferrets and dry, itchy skin to young ferret. Which makes them distress and uncomfortable.

Signs of pain in ferret

These are the signs of pain in ferret as they don’t expose or hide.

  1. Scratching themselves incessantly

If you see your ferret is scratching himself nonstop. It could be because of the fleas, lice or parasites that are itching. You can get specifically formulated treatment from the vet to invest for your ferret.

Do not use other treatments that are used for other animals because it could prove fatal for your ferret. 

Nonstop scratching can cause skin damage. So if your ferret scratching its ears then it may be ear mites. It’s better to get treatment from the vet to get rid of the scratching.

  1. Lumps around their bottoms

This is another sign of distress of ferret. If he has anal glands occasionally become blocked and your pet dragging his bottom across the floor or there may be lumps around their back ends. Rush to the vet and let him examine and diagnose. Otherwise it can lead to serious and painful infection to the ferret.

  1. Inflamed & swollen vulva

When your non-spayed female ferrets start showing such signs like (Lethargy, weakness, no appetite, and loss of hair). Then they may suffer inflamed and swollen vulvas. The reason behind this is producing so much estrogen when they are on heat and stops the production of red and white blood cells.

This condition can lead to the disease known as aplastic anemia. As the condition can be reversed if you could examine early and spay your ferret.

You better keep it in observation. As if it goes too far then your ferret may need blood transfusions or if its extreme stage then your pet should need to put on deep sleep.

  1. Lethargy, no energy & collapse

When your ferret starts showing such symptoms like no energy, lethargic or if they collapse could be a heart problem called cardiomyopathy. Because ferret is a lovely and playful creature while if awake always moving around and run here and there to investigate surroundings.

You can observe other signs as well as excessive coughing, a buildup of fluid and difficulty in staying awake.

This disease in ferrets can be a hereditary disorder and no known cure is available. You may consult your vet who can treat the ferret to help to manage the condition of a ferret. He would direct some diagnose if you really think that your pet is suffering pain from the condition then he will recommend treatment.

Always be careful about the health of your pet. As it is necessary to keep it safe for a long live-run so if your ferret shows no interest in surroundings that means something is not good with them.

  1. Excessive panting

In the excessive hot temperature or summer season. Ferrets may suffer heatstroke or it can cause excessive panting means fast breathing. As they don’t sweat.

So when the temperature rises their body temperature also rises and they feel difficult to breathe because of overheat. They should be kept in temperature from 50-70. Because when the temperature will rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit will overheat for them.

High temperatures can also cause your ferret to pass out when panting a lot. So you should keep them in a cool room or using damp towels that shouldn’t be too cold. If they seem not well then they must take them to the vet by wrapping them in a wet towel.

  1. Crusty eyes and rashes

You can see these signs in your ferret. When he is suffering from the distemper along with some more symptoms like (Hard paw pads, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and seizures).

Unfortunately, if you find your pet such signs. Then it means ferret is prone to contracting distemper and there is no treatment of this disease. All you can do is not letting him suffer anymore and put him into a deep sleep.

But there is a vaccine for distemper in ferrets. Which you should have to inject your ferret from a qualified vet. As there is a series of vaccination that should be needed on time. You should keep a schedule or record of the vaccination dated when the next is due. Keep your ferret away from the nasty and fatal condition.

  1. Loss of skin tone, loss of muscle and muscle wastage

When you see such signs in your pet like (Hair loss, red patches on the body, poor coat condition, itchy, flaky skin, fat deposits on the abdomen, and a strong musky odor) can be signs of cancer. You should be a careful observer if the ferret shows such signs. Then it means he is suffering from some cancer.

Get to know there is no cure for cancer in ferrets. Though it can have the treatment and kept under observation of the vet who can control.

Prevention is better than cure. So always get your pet vaccinated on time so he may not suffer such incurable diseases and regular checkups also help.

They should have a thorough check-up once a year. So it’s better to know before if they are going to suffer anything upcoming. So as if cancer caught early can be treatable and with the right type of medication and treatment, the situation can be under control.


The people who are affectionate and intimate to their pets. Must keep an eye on them must be known to the behavioral changes in the ferret. You can dedicate a small diary for information about your pet. So that you can record the behavior with the time. It’s the best way to analyze the certain disease in ferret and the conditions changes within to ferrets.

Most of the pets live their lives without getting seriously sick. When their owners are much concerned about the proper treatment or keep recognizing the symptoms to know what they mean. Beware of the catching illness is better to take it to the vet for treatment, prevention is necessary. Because ferrets are sensitive and unable to survive certain diseases.

This way you can help your ferret escape from going to suffer the pain and distress in sickness. Keep it in mind early detection of pain and illness increases the chances of your pet to survive fully recovered. Otherwise you may have to put him into sleep forever.

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