Ferrets have become common household pets in the United States. Their small size and curious and friendly nature lends them to be suitable pets, companions, and even service animals in some cases. Pet owners should be aware that although ferrets can make good pets, they can also carry germs (such as bacteria, parasites, or viruses) that can make people sick. Germs that ferrets can carry have been known to cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from minor skin infections to serious disease.
It is rare for germs from ferrets to spread to people, but pet owners should be aware of the risks and take precautions. Protect yourself and your family from getting sick by
- Seeking routine veterinary care for your pet.
- Always washing your hands and the hands of children with running water and soap after contact with ferrets, their stool, and their food.
By providing your pet with routine veterinary care and following some simple health tips, you are less likely to get sick from touching, petting, or owning ferrets.
Diseases associated with ferrets than can cause human illness include:
- Cheyletiellosis (Cheyletiella)
- Giardiasis (Giardia)
- Pasteurellosis (Snuffles, Pasteurella multocida)
- Rat-bite Fever
- Salmonellosis (Salmonella)
- Sarcoptic mange