Cardiac Disease in Ferrets

Key Points

  • Along with insulinoma, cardiac disease is an important differential for weakness and lethargy in the ferret.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disorder in middle aged to older ferrets.
  • Use caution in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in ferrets with severe pleural effusion. Pleural fluid may mask the presence of a mediastinal mass caused by lymphoma, particularly in ferrets 2 years of age or younger.
  • Management of heart disease in the ferret generally follows the same therapeutic guidelines used in dogs and cats, however ferrets seem to be very sensitive to enalapril and can become lethargic secondary to hypotension.
  • The long-term prognosis for ferrets with cardiac disease is guarded to poor.

Cardiac disease is common in middle-aged and older domestic ferrets. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disorder in older ferrets, however hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and valve conditions also occur in the ferret. Clinical signs range from asymptomatic disease to fulminate heart failure with problems such as anorexia, weakness, and dyspnea . . .

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