Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses named for the crown-like spike proteins on their surface. Coronaviruses cause disease in humans and animals, often circulating among camels, cats, and bats. Ferrets are susceptible to infection by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-COv-1), but pathogenicity and host susceptibility can differ based on the viral infective dose and laboratory SARS coronavirus strain. Studies are ongoing to investigate the respiratory pathology and transmission of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in experimental ferrets.
The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. This New World species is correctly called an “opossum” as opposed to the Old World “possum”. This information sheet reviews natural history, conservation status, and taxonomy, as well as a number of clinically relevant information including (but not limited to) diet, housing, behavior, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, preventive medicine, zoonoses, and important medical conditions seen in the opossum.
“Ick”: An emerging disease – A disease syndrome has recently been observed in sugar gliders that includes diarrhea, anorexia, wet, “sticky” joeys, pouch exudate, and joey deaths. The furred, but still largely pouch-dwelling joeys appear poorly groomed or are covered with tacky mucus. Clinically, the joeys are lethargic, dehydrated, with evidence of diarrhea. Some adults appear to be asymptomatic, although mild diarrhea has been noted in many cases.
The sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea. Although sugar gliders lack marsupial bones, also known as epipubic bones or pelvic ribs, female gliders or “dams” possess a pouch or marsupium. Like all marsupials, the glider gives birth to a fetus, which completes development inside the pouch…
Self-mutilation is sometimes observed in isolated sugar gliders or in situations causing social stress. Improper groupings are common in captivity as pet owners often combine a male with one or two females, without realizing that not all individuals get along…
Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney practiced avian and exotic animal medicine in the greater Puget Sound area of Washington State for over 30 years, retiring from clinical practice in 2013. She now devotes time to writing and volunteering more time with the Washington Ferret Rescue & Shelter, which she has been involved with since its inception in 1997. Cathy serves as secretary-treasurer-webmaster for the Association of Northwest Avian & Exotic Veterinarians. Dr. Johnson-Delaney has helped to advance the fields of exotic animal and laboratory animal medicine, and she has served as President of both the Association of Avian Veterinarians and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians.
The ferret is a carnivore with a short, simple gastrointestinal tract and a relatively rapid gastrointestinal transit time. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints.