Ferret Disease Prevention

Preventive measures are vital the health of ferrets and usually include physical examination and screening, vaccination, parasite control (for external and internal parasites and quarantine procedures.

The extreme susceptibility of ferrets to canine distemper virus (CDV) requires that newly introduced ferrets be housed at a unit as far as possible from dogs as is practical.

Ferret owners should be aware of potential transmission of Aleutian disease virus infection and infectious diarrhea (corona virus infection) among animals in shelters or presented at ferret shows. Another coronavirus, the ferret systemic coronavirus (FRSCV) of the genus Alphacoronavirus, causes the disease similar to the dry form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

Ferrets are susceptible to rabies and can transmit the virus.

Bovine and swine herpesviruses were detected in clinically normal ferrets. Raw beef and pig meat is suspected as the source of infection and should therefore be avoided as the disease caused by the virus is fatal in most animals.

6-8 weeks (postweaning): vaccination with canine distemper (CD) vaccine; spaying, castration, removal of anal gland (optional); first fecal exam for oocytes, Giardia and parasite eggs.

9-12 weeks: culture for Salmonella and Campylobacter; second vaccination against CD; second fecal exam for oocytes, Giardia and parasite eggs.

12 weeks: rabies vaccination (IMRAB only).

Male ferret

5-6 months: spaying, castration, removal of anal gland (optional).

13-14 weeks: third vaccination with canine distemper (CD) vaccine.

15 months (1 year after CD vaccine): physical examination; vaccination for CD (repeated annually); rabies vaccination (repeated annually).

2 years: physical examination (repeated annually); annual vaccination (repeated annually); blood glucose determination (repeated annually).

3 years : physical examination (repeated semiannually); annual vaccination (repeated annually); blood glucose determination (repeated semiannually); CDC (repeated annually); serum chemistry (repeated annually).

Ferrets can be given drugs or fluids with a special rodent-dosing needle and syringe or a plastic dispensing dropper. The administration of medication to ferrets in tablet or capsule form is to be performed by experienced personnel.


  1. Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. James G. Fox, Robert P. Marini
  2. Laboratory Animal Medicine. Lynn C. Anderson, Glen Otto, Kathleen R. Pritchett-Corning, Mark T. Whary
  3. The Laboratory Ferret. C. Andrew Matchett, Rena Marr, Felipe M. Berard, Andrew G. Cawthon, Sonya P. Swing

Ferret Disease Prevention

Common Ferret Ailments

Cystic Renal Disease

Bacterial, Fungal, and Nutritional Diseases

Ear Cleaning and Nail Care

Bathing Your Ferret

Flea Control


Proliferative Colitis

Ferret Distemper

Ferret Biting & Nipping

New Ferret Owner Common Mistakes