4 Signs Your Pet Ferret Is Suffering From An Emergency Intestinal Obstruction

Ferrets are wonderful pets once properly trained, but their curious nature that makes them so fun to play with and watch also causes them to get into trouble. It only takes a few seconds out of your sight for a busy ferret to gobble down something they can't digest, like the foam rubber used in furniture that they love to chew. These snacking habits lead to blockages in the stomach and intestines that threaten the animal's life. Stay on the lookout for these four signs of an obstruction.

Refusal to Eat

Most ferrets stop eating first when an obstruction forms in the stomach or intestines because the lack of movement in the gastrointestinal tract leaves them feeling full all the time. Your ferret may continue to eat but only get through a bite or two at a time before giving up due to a reduced but not completely absent appetite.. This is why it's a good habit to watch your ferret during meal time to catch signs of problems, which can also include damaged or abscessed teeth and accidental poisoning.

Bathroom Changes

In most cases, an intestinal blockage leads to a total lack of droppings being passed into the ferret's litter box. If the blockage isn't complete, you may notice distinctly thin feces that may resemble a pencil's lead or a piece of string. This is because some of the feces is getting around the blockage, but not the majority of it. Diarrhea is another sign of an obstruction that is often overlooked because ferret owners assume that feces going through the pet's system rules out the chance of a blockage. The feces that are passed may be dark, black, or have visible blood if the obstruction is damaging the stomach or intestines.

Mouth Activity

Ferrets rarely use their paws to clean their faces, so if you notice your pet pawing or scratching at their mouth or the roof of the mouth, it's a clear sign there's something going on in their gastrointestinal tract. This is one of the ferret's most common signs of pain and discomfort, along with tooth grinding that makes a distinctive scratching noise. Drooling can also accompany these symptoms, but foamy drool is more likely linked to either a very rare case of rabies or a much more common and just as serious poisoning.

Lack of Energy

Finally, ferrets with trouble stomachs of any kind tend to lose their characteristic energy and zeal. If you notice your ferret preferring to stay in their hammock or bed when they're usually dashing around, a quick response could save their lives since many pets display lethargy as their only noticeable symptom of a blockage until it's too late. There are dozens of other serious cases of ongoing low energy levels you may also discover as well, so it's always worth the trip to the vet.