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A HEALTHY FERRET CHECKLIST

A healthy ferret is an active, curious animal that remains alert and playful. Knowing what physical characteristics are normal for your pet can help you to keep him healthy and happy, and let you know as soon as possible when something begins to go wrong. Check for the following:

  • Eyes: Should be big, clear, bright, even in size and free of discharge. Some ferrets suffer from small eyes (micro-ophthalmia). Avoid buying one of these.
  • Fur: Should be clean, shiny and completely cover the body with no bald spots or sores.
  • Skin: Skin should be smooth, not scaly. Check for lumps; they could be cancerous.
  • Ears: Should be pink and clear of debris or dirt.
  • Nose: A moist nose is a good sign. It should also be smooth and free of scales.
  • Whiskers: Whiskers should be long and full.
  • Body: The body should be firm with muscle evenly distributed. A healthy ferret is long, muscular and athletic.
  • Neutering: If you get a ferret from a pet store it will probably already be neutered. Unneutered males emit a strong, offensive odor. Unneutered females allowed to go into heat without being bred often die.
  • Genitals/Anus: Should be clean and healthy looking with no signs of feces or discharge.
  • Behavior: Ferrets are usually alert and curious. They should be playful, gentle and have a good temperament and attitude. Although these are not indications of health, it's better not to get an aggressive ferret that will bite unduly. A healthy ferret will display a confident attitude and appear generally happy.
  • Tail: Should be covered with hair.