Urinary/Prostate Disease in Male Ferrets

Author: Santino Lorenzo Piccirillo

I often see that many ferret owners (surprisingly) are not aware that adrenal males very often develop urinary problems!

Ferret owners (both new and old) need to be very vigilant with male adrenal ferrets. Iif you see a male ferret that is putting out large amounts of urine, urinating frequently, or dribbling, this is a cause for concern.  A good rule of thumb is: the puddle of urine should not be larger than the ferret. If you see a male adrenal ferret that rushes to the corner and PUSHES to urinate (as though you see several pushes before anything comes out) this is a cause for concern. Sometimes they will push so hard that it will affect their rectum.  they will appear to “strain” to do #2 and sometimes a little bit of poop comes out.  but in reality they are straining to urinate.

Of course, most male ferrets that are adrenal will push for a bit and get the urine out; however, do not ignore this problem because there will come a day when that ferret will no longer be able to push the urine out.  eventually, the prostate becomes so enlarged and inflamed that it will not allow the urine to pass through. and then, you will be dealing with a true emergency.

Male ferrets with adrenal disease sometimes also develop prostatic cysts which are very painful. A ferret must be able to empty their bladder; as urine sits in the bladder longer, it will form crystals; stones can form in as little as 8 hours. A ferret that cannot urinate will die a painful death.  Urinary tract infections, bladder infections and kidney infections are commonly seen with male adrenal ferrets that have enlarged prostates.

If you suspect that your male adrenal ferret is having problems urinating, take him to the vet. First and foremost, you need to get that ferret on either lupron or deslorelin AND melatonin. Often times the treatment of the adrenal disease will relieve the prostate issues; however, sometimes the prostate problems continue despite treatment. In that case, your vet will need to prescribe either flutamide or propecia (finasteride).  these are medications that help reduce the size of the prostate. Eventually all medications will stop working; that is when we have to make the painful decision to help our little friends go to rainbow bridge.

A few holistic remedies that you can look into: stinging nettle extract (alcohol free); saw palmetto extract (alcohol free). Also, let your ferret sit in very warm water or hold a wet towel with very warm water up to his penis. A veterinarian can show you how to express your ferret’s bladder. When the bladder is SO full it can rupture, it is very painful. Please be vigilant if you have a male adrenal ferret!