Hairless Ferret: Do Ferrets Lose Their Hair (and Why?)

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Updated: March 31, 2022
Image Credit Couperfield/Shutterstock.com
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Hair loss in ferrets is common. If your ferret is experiencing hair loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an exotic pet veterinarian.

In this article, we’ll talk more about ferret hair loss, why it happens, and how to help your furry friend recover.

Do Ferrets Lose their Hair?

Young white ferret (Mustela putorius furo) close up.
Hair loss in ferrets is a symptom of parasites or illness.

AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock.com

Hair loss is common in ferrets, but it’s not healthy. If your ferret is losing hair, it may be suffering from an underlying condition such as:

We’ll discuss these in detail below.

Fleas

Fleas can cause hair loss to ferrets because they irritate the skin. Flea bites itch as much as mosquito bites do, and when your ferret bites or scratches themselves, this can cause them to lose fur over time.

Your ferret is most likely to catch fleas if they’ve been outdoors or live with another pet who goes outside and isn’t on parasite prevention medication. You’ll notice small, black bugs crawling through their fur and a lot of itching. The hair loss may occur anywhere on the body where fleas have bitten your ferret and may be accompanied by small red bites.

Your veterinarian can prescribe parasite prevention to treat fleas. You’ll also need to treat your home and other pets to prevent reoccurrence.

Ear Mites

Much like fleas, ear mites make your ferret itch! If your ferret’s hair loss is on the back of their ears and they’re constantly itching them, ear mites are a likely culprit. You might also notice your ferret shaking their head or black specks on your ferret’s ear. Ear mites are microscopic, so you won’t see the mites moving around.

Your ferret can catch ear mites from going outdoors without parasite prevention or from another pet that’s done the same. Ear mites can also be treated using a parasite prevention medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal disease that can cause your ferret to lose patches of fur. Their skin may also be dry, flaky, and swollen. Your ferret can catch ringworm from other animals, humans, or objects that have come into contact with someone infected.

Your veterinarian may recommend anti-fungal cream or shampoo alongside cleaning your ferret’s environment to prevent a recurrence.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections can result in bald patches and crusty skin, often on the ferret’s face. They’re fairly uncommon in ferrets but are more likely if your ferret has adrenal disease or cancer.

Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to clear up the infection.

Adrenal Disease

Adrenal disease is the most common reason for ferret hair loss in the United States. Because we spay and neuter ferrets too early here, one in four ferrets develop adrenal disease. This is high when compared to rates in other countries that drop to under one percent.

Adrenal disease is when your ferret’s adrenal glands produce too many reproductive hormones. You’ll notice hair loss beginning on your ferret’s tail, working its way up their back, and eventually reaching the rest of the body.

Left untreated, adrenal disease is deadly, but it can typically be managed or cured by a veterinarian depending on the gland affected and the treatment pursued.

Why does my Ferret Have No Fur on their Tail?

Adrenal disease is the most common cause of fur loss on the tail in ferrets.

Gilowyn / Creative Commons

Fur loss on the tail typically indicates the beginning of adrenal disease. This occurs when your ferret’s adrenal glands are producing too many reproduction hormones.

Over time, the hair loss will work its way up your ferret’s back and throughout the rest of their body. Other symptoms include:

  • Itchiness
  • Waxy, yellow skin
  • Swollen vulva
  • Anemia (weakness, pale gums)
  • Aggression
  • Increased sex drive
  • Enlarged prostate, difficulty urinating

Adrenal disease is deadly if left untreated, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can. However, it would be best if you didn’t panic—this condition is treatable, and many ferrets can live a normal life on medications. Surgery is another option and is sometimes curative.

Can Ferrets Regrow Hair?

Ferrets will typically regrow their hair once the ailment has been treated.

Alfredo Gutierrez / Creative Commons

Yes, ferrets can regrow their hair once treated by a veterinarian. As their health condition clears up, you should notice symptoms regressing and your ferret looking normal once more.

Can Humans Catch Diseases from Ferrets?

Humans can catch some of the things that cause ferret hair loss. Let’s talk through them one by one to see whether they can be transmitted and how contagious they are.

First off: adrenal disease is not contagious.

There isn’t enough research on whether yeast infections can be passed from pets to humans. However, humans can rarely catch yeast infections from other humans—so your ferret’s yeast infection isn’t highly contagious if they can infect you at all.

Your ferret passing on ear mites to you is unlikely but possible. Ringworm and fleas are more common to catch from your ferret, with fleas being most contagious. If your ferret has fleas, you will almost definitely be bitten too.

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