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 types of tumors. Any deviation from normal should be a cause for concern and should be immediately evaluated by your veterinarian.

  • There are four major hormonal diseases in ferrets. This handout covers adrenal gland disease and diabetes mellitus. See separate handouts "Ferrets - Reproductive Diseases" and "Insulinomas in Ferrets" for information on these other diseases caused by hormonal disturbances.

  • 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 that is still occasionally seen in pet ferrets occurs in females that are not spayed. This is called hyperestrogenemia and is a result of persistently high blood levels of estrogen in unspayed females that are not bred or fails to ovulate.

  • Glomerulonephritis, also known as glomerular nephritis (GN), is a specific type of renal (kidney) disease characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli, which are the tiny structures in the kidneys that act as filters for the blood.