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About the Ferret Flu

About the Ferret Flu

Did you know that ferrets are just as susceptible to influenza as humans?  


Ferrets usually become infected when they come into contact with sick humans or ferrets. If you're a flu carrier, it's vital to avoid close contact with your pet. Contamination occurs via airborne nasal secretions (aerosols). 


Symptoms appear 48 hours after infection. Ferrets will run a fever and appear more tired. If this is the case, they'll be less active, lie down longer and may even stop feeding. You may notice sneezing, watery eyes and coughing. If your ferret is young, old, or suffering from another health issue, this virus could affect them even more.  


If you notice these clinical signs in your ferret, it's strongly recommended that you make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the clinical signs, several types of treatment can be put in place to help him overcome this flu. As with humans, these are mainly supportive treatments until the viral passage has subsided. In the most severe clinical signs, intensive care and an oxygen cage may be necessary in cases of major respiratory distress.


There is no approved vaccine against influenza in ferrets.  


To avoid contaminating your pet when you have the flu, the best solution is to let another family member take care of it for you. If this isn't possible, the best thing to do is to handle your pet as little as possible, wear a mask, ventilate the room, and wash your hands thoroughly. 


Remember, prevention is best for your ferret!