What Is Coronavirus in Ferrets?

What Is Coronavirus in Ferrets?

Here we can see, “What Is Coronavirus in Ferrets?”

Ferrets are slinky, mischievous, and intelligent members of the weasel family who enjoy playing and socialising. Ferrets, like humans and many other animals, can be infected with coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19. The coronavirus that is most likely to infect your pet ferret is called ferret enteric coronavirus (FRECV). This virus causes a disease called green slime disease, but it is more accurately called epizootic catarrhal enteritis.

This infection causes diarrhea that is frequently bright green in colour and has a seedy texture. Green slime sickness can affect ferrets of any age, but symptoms are likely to be more severe in older ferrets. It’s possible that the sick ferret will grow dehydrated and lose its appetite. Most ferrets recover, but epizootic catarrhal enteritis is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among ferrets in close quarters, such as during a pet show or in a pet store.

The ferret systemic coronavirus (FRSCV), which causes diarrhea and weight loss in people, can also spread to ferrets.

What Is Coronavirus?

Many distinct viruses of the coronavirus family can cause sickness in a wide range of species, including people, cats, dogs, camels, pigs, bats, ferrets, and others. Coronavirus infections typically induce respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms such as coughing or diarrhea. Three coronaviruses, in particular, can make your ferret sick.

Ferret Enteric Coronavirus (FRECV)

Ferret enteric coronavirus, the type of coronavirus that most usually affects ferrets, causes an illness known as epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE). However, because of the green diarrhea that is its most prevalent symptom, it’s also known as green slime or green poop illness. ECE starts with inflammation in the liver, which then spreads to the intestines and kills the cells that line the intestines.

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Green slime sickness produces severe diarrhea in ferrets, which can contain blood or appear green, slimy, or even luminous due to the damage it does to the intestines. Lethargy and dehydration accompany the diarrhea, resulting in sunken eyes and skin tenting. On the other hand, some ferrets don’t show any signs of illness, but they can still spread the virus to other ferrets.


COVID-19 is caused by the pathogen Sars-CoV-19, which can cause a minor cough and fever in ferrets. However, COVID-19 does not appear to cause major illness in ferrets. While there is still some ambiguity, ferrets appear to be able to catch COVID-19 from humans but are unlikely to pass it on to their owners. If you test positive for COVID-19, however, have someone else look after your ferret while you recuperate.

Ferret Systemic Coronavirus (FRSCV)

The ferret systemic coronavirus, or FRSCV, is the third form of coronavirus that can harm a ferret and mimics feline peritonitis. This is not a frequent variety, but if a ferret gets it, it’s generally while it’s young, and it can cause weight loss, anorexia, diarrhea, and an abdominal intestinal mass. FRSCV is a degenerative disease that usually kills the ferret within two months.

Coronavirus Symptoms in Ferrets

Coronavirus infections can make your ferret very sick, causing diarrhea, weight loss, and a lack of appetite, or give it a cough, or create no symptoms at all. However, if your pet ferret shows any signs of disease, you should always visit your veterinarian. The following are some warning signs to look out for:


  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody or bright green stools
  • Diarrhea with a seed-like texture
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin tenting (pinch a small section of skin, and it stays tented rather than flattening back out)
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
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If your ferret contracts green slime illness, symptoms may appear within two or three days, while the virus is thought to live for up to six months in contaminated faeces. Loss of appetite, vomiting, and subsequent green diarrhea are the most common symptoms of sickness. Green diarrhea, on the other hand, is not exclusive to green slime illness.

A sick ferret will lose weight, become dehydrated, and become lethargic over time. Most ferrets, on the other hand, do not get this sick.

Other kinds of coronavirus illness in ferrets can cause diarrhea, as well as a cough and fever.

Coronavirus causes

Coronaviruses are round viruses with tiny protein “spikes” covering them. The word “corona” derives from the Latin word for “crown,” because the virus’s spikes resemble a crown. The virus attaches to healthy cells inside its host, whether it’s a ferret, a human, or another animal, using its spikes. The virus attaches itself to the healthy host cell and injects its own genetic material into it, overriding the host cell’s own genetic information. Instead of developing into their own sort of cell, the once-healthy host cells become “breeding centres” for other coronaviruses. Thus the infection spreads through the ferret or other infected animal.

Diagnosing Coronavirus in Ferrets

Green slime is usually diagnosed by looking at liver enzyme levels, stool characteristics, and other symptoms. Although electron microscopy of the stool can reveal the virus, this is not a typical procedure. Your vet may order a complete blood count to see if the ferret has a lot of white blood cells, which could mean it has an infection.

COVID-19 is diagnosed in ferrets based on a history of exposure to an infected ferret or person, as well as a fever, albeit coughing may or may not be present. A test called a RealPCR test will confirm the diagnosis, but other respiratory infections like influenza should be ruled out first.

Symptoms, as well as blood tests demonstrating anaemia and impaired kidney or liver function, are used to identify ferret systemic coronavirus.

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Treatment for coronavirus is determined by the symptoms present. Even though none of the symptoms this virus causes in ferrets can be cured, supportive care can help your ferret get better faster or stay comfortable as the disease gets worse.

If your ferret is dehydrated, your veterinarian will usually require fluids to be administered subcutaneously. Ferrets with lost appetites are typically enticed to eat by a bland diet that is gentle on their digestive systems. Intestinal inflammation may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications. If your ferret has ferret systemic coronavirus, your vet may suggest steroid medicine, which won’t cure the disease but may help your ferret live longer.

Prognosis for Ferrets With Coronavirus

The majority of ferrets infected with green slime disease or COVID-19 will recover, albeit senior ferrets are more susceptible to infection. On the other hand, the ferret systemic coronavirus is a disease that gets worse over time and usually kills the animal within two months.

How to Prevent Coronavirus

The best approach to ensuring that your ferret does not contract coronavirus is to keep it away from other ferrets or people who may have spent time with ferrets of their own. This can be hard because not everyone, including ferrets, has symptoms, but it will make it much less likely that your ferret will get a coronavirus.

New ferrets introduced into a household with existing ferrets should be kept away from the current ferrets for a few weeks to monitor for signs of coronavirus or other infections. To avoid spreading the virus or other diseases, you should wash your hands after handling your ferret and any others.

Is Ferret Coronavirus Contagious to Other Animals?

Ferret enteric coronavirus and ferret systemic coronavirus, as well as the closely related mink, are extremely contagious. These two viruses, on the other hand, do not infect other animals.

User Questions

What does it mean that coronaviruses are zoonotic?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they can spread from animals to humans. According to detailed examinations, SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. Several coronaviruses that have not yet infected people are circulating in animals.

What are the symptoms of COVID in ferrets?

The virus has previously been found in a ferret in Slovenia. After the ferret displayed clinical signs such as sneezing and coughing, samples were obtained. COVID-19 is thought to have been spread to the ferret by a human who had it.

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What are the common diseases in ferrets?

Diarrhea, intestinal foreign objects, parasites, heart problems, and various types of malignancies are all common illnesses in pet ferrets. “Common diseases in pet ferrets include diarrhea, foreign objects in the gut, parasites, heart disease, and different types of cancer.”

Is my ferret sick or dying?

When death is near, you may notice your ferret collapsing and taking deep gasps. Their body temperature will fall to 97 degrees Fahrenheit or below. They are close to death if they are moaning or wheezing with each breath.

Why is my ferret walking weird?

If your ferret has problems standing on his rear legs or walks with his legs dragged behind him, he is suffering from hind limb weakness. Loss of control over urination and faeces might accompany this illness.


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