Ferret Hair Loss – What’s Wrong? Is He Dying?

Ferret Hair Loss – What’s Wrong? Is He Dying?

Ferrets, just like other animals, shed in the spring and summer. Then in winter, his coat becomes thick and fluffy again. It is a natural process that furry or hairy animals undergo in a certain cycle.  However, if your ferret sheds his coat outside this pattern or if you have observed excessive shedding, then as the owner, be suspicious and know the reasons behind this condition.

Rat Tailed Ferrets (Tail Alopecia)

When your ferret loses hair on just the tail, do not worry. This is harmless. Usually, if a ferret experiences a change in the environment or there’s a new animal in the household, this may cause a lot of stress to your pet – which will be the reason behind his tail going bald. Sometimes, it may take a few months before this grows back.   The bald tail can also show tiny black spots. This is common in males.

Hormonal Imbalances (Endocrine Alopecia)

Observe the pattern on how your ferret loses its coat. Does it start from the base of the tail and the inside of the legs? Does your ferret gradually lose more hair in most of his body? Are the tips of the tail and the head spared from the hair loss? If your answer is yes to all questions, then it is possible that your pet has hormonal imbalances. The most common causes are adrenal tumors or prolonged heat periods for the jills. For the jills, they usually grow their hair back when the heat cycle is over or when spayed. If your ferret is male or if it’s a spayed female and its losing hair in a pattern mentioned above, take your pet to the vet.

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Adrenal Tumor

This has been mentioned above but let us discuss this in detail. Adrenal tumor affects 75 percent of ferrets over the age of 4. This is a serious problem that needs to be attended immediately. Surgery is a good option when your ferret is still young. However, when your ferret’s already old or is no longer a good candidate for surgery, medication is the only other option. Your pet may take medication for the rest of his life to control the tumor.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can also cause hair loss. If your ferret has digestive problems with some types of food, this may lead to vomiting, nausea or diarrhea. Your ferret will be stressed because of these. And stress, as we know, can cause shedding.

Topical allergies

Skin irritants, such as detergents or fabric softeners, cedar shavings , household cleaners and bug bite dermatitis, can cause allergies on your ferret which can lead to hair loss.

Other Causes to Consider

There may be other reasons why your ferret is losing hair. Include the possibilities of poor nutrition, fleas, severe mite infestation, a bacterial or fungal infection, or dry skin.