Since ferrets can’t tell you when they’re not feeling well, it’s vital to know what to look out for so you can detect when something is wrong with your ferret.
If your ferret’s nose is running or if he starts losing hair, you may start to think something is seriously wrong and head straight to the small animal veterinarian.
But when it doubt, see what your ferret poops out. If you feel like your ferrets bowl movements are less than normal, make an appointment with your ferret’s veterinarian.
Below is a guide of what we consider normal ferret poop and unusual ferret poop.
Normal Ferret Poop
Normal ferret poop is tubular in shape, has a smooth consistency and is tan-brown in color.
Green Ferret Poop
A very non-specific sign—it just means that food is moving through too fast. The normal brown color seen in feces is the end product of break down of old red blood cells.
The pigment goes through a green stage called biliverdin before it becomes brown (called stercobilin).
So if it goes through at an accelerated rate, it never breaks down all the way and has a green color to it. Anything that accelerates passage of food or causes diarrhea can result in green color—ECE, rapid ferret food changes, lymphoma, just about anything.
Black Tarry Ferret Poop
Very suggestive of gastric bleeding and usually associated with gastric ulcers. You have to have significant bleeding in the stomach for the feces to turn black. The color is the result of digestion of blood, which usually only occurs in the stomach.
Bloody Ferret Poop
If you see fresh blood in the poop, it is usually either from the large bowel or rectum (if seen in small amounts). If there is a lot of blood, it could come from the entire length of the G.I. tract.
Massive hemorrhage is seen either from severe gastric bleeds or shock in ferrets and, as one might imagine, is a really bad sign.
Birdseed-like Ferret Poop
Generally a sign of maldigestion or malabsorption. Also non-specific, it can be seen with any disease that severely affects the small intestine.
Most commonly seen with ECE, the individual seeds are usually undigested fat and starch complexes. When you see this, consider removing a ferret from kibble and going to a bland, easily digesteble supplement for a while.
Pencil-lead Thin Ferret Poop
Think partial obstruction—usually a foreign body, like a popsicle stick.
Want to read more about ferrets? Check out:
- Ferret Care: How to Litter Train Your Ferret
- Saying Goodbye To An Ailing Ferret
- Revealing The Ferret Personality Types
By: Dr. Bruce Williams, a recognized expert in the disease and pathology of the domestic ferret. He works at The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C.
Featured Image: Via bozhdb/iStock/Thinkstock