Articles

Small Mammals + Medical Conditions

  • Generally speaking, chinchillas are fairly hardy animals. However, they do have several unique problems, and understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems.

  • Common conditions of pet chinchillas include bite wounds, respiratory diseases, overgrown and impacted teeth, gastrointestinal stasis, bloat, diarrhea, skin problems, and heat stroke.

  • Common conditions of pet ferrets include diarrhea, intestinal foreign bodies, parasites, heart disease, and various kinds of tumors.

  • There are four major hormonal diseases in ferrets. Two of these diseases are covered in separate handouts, namely abnormally high levels of estrogen associated with persistent estrus in female ferrets (see Ferrets – Reproductive diseases), and abnormally high levels of insulin associated with the pancreatic tumor called insulinoma (see Ferrets – Tumors).

  • Ferrets have several unique problems; understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems.

  • Ferrets are susceptible to a number of different diseases of the respiratory system. The symptoms of respiratory disease are similar, regardless of the cause. Some respiratory diseases can be fatal, and it is important to attempt to determine the cause of disease in order to determine a prognosis.

  • Most skin diseases in ferrets are associated with parasites - fleas, mites and ticks. Ferrets may also develop bacterial skin disease if the skin is traumatized, and they are susceptible to tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma and mast cell tumors.

  • Gastrointestinal disease occurs commonly in ferrets - from dental disease, through gastrointestinal foreign bodies to persistent diarrhea. Some, such as foreign bodies, are readily prevented, while others require considerable diagnostic investigation and may need long-term treatment.

  • Reproductive disease in ferrets is rare today, as most pet ferrets are spayed or neutered at a young age. One disease still seen occasionally in pet ferrets occurs in females that are not spayed.

  • Guinea pigs are easy to care for and, if handled frequently and gently, make great family pets. They are generally hardy, healthy animals but are susceptible to certain problems and diseases.