Gastrointestinal blockages are one of the major causes of premature ferret death. Symptoms may include: Vomiting, lack of appetite or not eating or drinking at all, straining when using the bathroom and producing no bowel movement or "skinny" stool, weakness, and diarrhea. It is very important to take your ferret to a veterinarian as soon as these symptoms begin. Ferrets with blockages can die in a matter of days. They can become seriously dehydrated within a day if they are vomiting or not taking in any fluids. If you suspect your ferret has a blockage, don't attempt to treat your ferret at home with ferret or cat laxatives. Rather, quickly look around the house for the item your ferret may have ingested (check their toys, look under the bed, under furniture and in their favorite hiding places) and take your ferret to a veterinarian immediately.
ECE, or Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis, is a very contagious virus that is commonly known as "Green Slime Disease." It affects the intestines of the ferret, causing profuse diarrhea that has a bright green coloration. The disease can begin with an initial bout of vomiting (sometimes clear mucus that may go unnoticed) and then several episodes of profuse, bright green often "smelly" diarrhea (the green coloration is due to mucus). ECE is a very serious virus that puts your ferret at great risk for dehydration, malnutrition and ulcers. Older ferrets and ferrets with conditions such as adrenal disease and insulinomas are hit the hardest. Kits may only have mild symptoms or may not show any symptoms at all. If your ferret has had more than two or three episodes of diarrhea or vomiting, please take it to the veterinarian.
For more information on ferret health conditions, training and how to teach your ferret some Fun Tricks, purchase The EverythingFerret Complete Guide to Ferrets and Ferret Care.