Heartworms And Your Ferret
Heartworms are thankfully not found in the UK, but are a risk for ferrets that travel abroad – although ferrets are at a much lower risk than other pets.
More about heartworms and your ferret
If your ferret doesn’t leave the UK, there is no current risk of them being infected by heartworms. However, Pet Passports are becoming more common, so we may see more cases of exotic diseases such as heartworm being seen. The numbers of ferrets who travel abroad however is still low, so heartworm in ferrets is still very rarely seen in the UK.
Heartworms are spread through the bites of mosquitos that carry the infective heartworm larvae. Ferrets are at risk of developing heartworm if they have:
- Not been given preventative medication
- Spent time in a region with mosquitos and heartworms
How serious the symptoms of a heartworm infection are depend on the number of heartworms, how long the infection has been present and the immune response of your ferret. However, as ferrets are small, only a handful of heartworms can be enough to cause serious disease.
In ferrets the signs of a heartworm infection include:
- Laboured breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal heart beat or the presence of a murmur
- Weight loss
- Fluid accumulation within the abdomen
- If your ferret is experiencing any of these signs then you should make an appointment with your local Vets4Pets as soon as possible.