Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Small animals like ferrets can go downhill very quickly. It is important that you have it checked by your vet straight away especially if the breathing is abnormal.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

The causes for labored breathing, rapid breathing, or deep breathing in ferrets may include central nervous system diseases, shock, anemia, congestive heart failure, respiratory diseases, lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and related causes. Other common causes include: Anemia. Heartworm infection.
Ferrets over three years of age that are showing signs of lethargy (lack of energy) or trouble walking may be exhibiting signs of low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). This condition is brought on by excess insulin excretion by a cancerous growth of the pancreas, commonly known as an insulinoma.
A ferret that has caught a cold might have a runny nose, coughing and might even start sneezing. He may have other symptoms such as a fever, diarrhea, and he may not want to eat at all, or very little.
It is extremely important that if your ferret stops eating or seems to be eating less, you book an appointment to see your veterinarian straight away. The sooner the problem is treated, the easier it is to get your ferret eating again as well as to identify and hopefully fix the underlying cause.
If your furry buddy seems listless, tired, or withdrawn, he may not be feeling well. Ferrets sometimes look dazed when they are sick, and they may grind their teeth. Pawing at the mouth is another red flag, as is excessive drooling.
Heart disease is relatively common in middle aged to older ferrets. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, lethargy, generalized or rear leg weakness, labored breathing, purplish or pale gums, coughing, and/or abdominal enlargement from fluid accumulation.
Ferrets can be dehydrated for a variety of reasons and signs such as skin tenting, sunken eyes, dry mucous membranes, etc will be evident; the severity depending upon the percentage of dehydration. Anorexia: any ferret who is not eating is also unlikely to be drinking and will dehydrate quickly.
It is also important to check your ferret`s hydration regularly, this can be checked by the skin tent test as well as feeling their mucous membranes inside their mouth (i.e. their gums). If their mucous membranes feel dry or tacky then it is likely that your ferret is dehydrated.
It is important for ferrets to take in nutrients when they are sick to avoid additional complications. A popular choice is baby food. Remember that ferrets need a meat-based diet, and choose a baby food accordingly. Serve the food barely warm using fingers, a spoon, or syringe.
Presence of abnormal behaviors, including aggression, urination and defecation outside the litter box, stereotypies, and absence of play behavior, should be carefully monitored by veterinarians and ferret owners to assess ferret wellness.
It is important for ferrets to take in nutrients when they are sick to avoid additional complications. A popular choice is baby food. Remember that ferrets need a meat-based diet, and choose a baby food accordingly. Serve the food barely warm using fingers, a spoon, or syringe.
To help ferrets that are suffering like this, try doing the same things you would to help a human. Hug your ferret. Encourage him to eat by providing special foods and sitting with him and speaking softly while he eats. Try to find pleasurable activities to distract your ferret.
Ferrets prefer an environmental temperature of between 60-75°F (15-23°C), and when the central heating is switched on, many homes will exceed this temperature, which can make living conditions uncomfortable for the ferret.
Ferrets. Ferrets are a species that prefers cooler temperatures and doesn`t tolerate the heat very well. If you need to keep your indoor space heated, consider keeping your ferrets in a cooler area. An indoor temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for healthy ferrets that have a thick winter coat.
If a ferret has contracted an infection in the upper respiratory tract, common symptoms can include sneezing, nasal and ocular discharged, along with open mouth breathing. A ferret suffering from lower respiratory infection will display symptoms such as respiratory crackles, wheezing, coughing and labored breathing.
Ferrets can go into a deep depression because of their loss; they may stop eating, become lethargic and withdrawn, and sometimes even lose the will to live, passing away themselves.
Ferrets with neurologic, musculoskeletal, or systemic disease may present with rear limb weakness, ataxia/incoordination, or both. Primary neurologic and musculoskeletal disorders are not common in pet ferrets.
Insulinomas can cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can cause confusion, sweating, weakness, and a rapid heartbeat. If your blood sugar gets too low, you can pass out and even go into a coma.
A ferret with lymphoma may present with any number of signs including poor or absent appetite, lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the feces, abdominal distention, swelling on the neck or legs, or visible masses, palpable masses (masses that can be felt by an experienced veterinarian), problems …
Normal respiratory rate in ferrets is 33 to 36 breaths per minute; documenting this rate should be part of every physical examination along with careful auscultation.
When ferrets have adrenal gland disease, the most common initial sign is hair loss on the top of the pelvis and/or flanks, with or without pruritus (itchiness). Affected female ferrets develop an enlarged vulva, while males often have problems with urination due to prostate enlargement.
Hypoglycemia is a term used to describe a blood sugar concentration of less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) of blood. In ferrets, this is most commonly caused by an insulinoma, a tumor of the pancreas.
Most ferrets enjoy a bath and playing in water. Fill your sink or bathtub partway with lukewarm water and let your pet enjoy. You may use either ferret or cat shampoo. Ferrets like to play games; two of their favorites are tug of war and hide and seek.
What are some of the common diseases of pet ferrets? Common conditions of pet ferrets include diarrhea, intestinal foreign bodies, parasites, heart disease, and various tumors.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Ferret has been less active. Breathing is short and heavy. used to explore alot but now just lays there and sleeps
ANSWER : A. Small animals like ferrets can go downhill very quickly. It is important that you have it checked by your vet straight away especially if the breathing is abnormal.

Q. Which flea and tick drops are the best and why?
ANSWER : A. Your question is a good one, and unfortunately the answers are going to differ based on who you ask. Many vets are seeing resistance to Frontline, which has been the go-to product for many of us for many years. It contains the active ingredient Fipronil, which is very safe and typically extremely effective. I use it on my dogs and never see fleas or ticks. However other vets will tell you in their areas, for whatever reason, they are seeing fleas and ticks on dogs and cats on which this product was used.

Another reason opinions differ is that some people like to give an oral product, and some like to put a topical product directly on the skin. That’s a matter of personal preference mostly. Bravecto, as mentioned below, is one of those products. Most people find it safe and effective. It uses a different process that Frontline to kill fleas and ticks.

In general the products you buy over-the-counter are likely going to be less expensive and less effective than what you get from a vet. I think the reason is that the more expensive products contain newer insecticides, and likely less resistance to these products has built up in the flea and tick population but also they are maybe less “proven”, so it’s important for a vet to be involved in the use of the product in order to ensure that there won’t be a negative reaction to using it.

If I lived in an area where there was Lyme disease (in the US that’s the northeast and upper midwest) I’d most definitely add a tick collar to my standard oral or topical flea and tick prevention. AND I’d search both of my dogs everyday for ticks. It’s because nothing you buy will be 100% effective, and Lyme disease can be a very serious problem.

If you want to talk further and talk more specifically about where you live and what products you’re considering, I’d be happy to do a consult with you. Nobody here is paid to recommend products, but we do develop preferences based on what we use on our own pets and in our practices.

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My recently acquired Sphinx cat has an unusual and somewhat anti-social habit. She suckles on one of her nipples. Why does she do this?
ANSWER : A. Some cats can become very stressed when introduced to a new home, and may exhibit some behaviors that are used to help them calm down. Most commonly, kneading objects such as bedding or people, or purring loudly are used as ways to calm down. However, some cats may calm by using a suckle response, attempting to nurse on objects such as blankets and sweaters, other pets, or even engaging in self-suckling. While usually harmless, this can sometimes indicate a medical issue such as a hormonal imbalance, or may cause your cat to begin lactating. If this does occur, making a checkup appointment with your local vet is best.

If the behavior is stress related, giving other ways for your cat to calm down may help. Make sure to provide a space for her where she can run and hide if needed, away from activity, new people and new pets. Leaving a comfy bed, some food and water and even a litter box in a room away from the main activity can give her a place to escape and settle down some. As she gets more used to you and your family, she will become more social. There are also commercial pheromone diffusers that can be used in collar form or plugged into a wall outlet. These release a calming pheromone to cats, and can help cats that are very stressed settle down during a transition period.

Q. My cat continues to scratch on furniture and carpets. He has plenty of scratching posts around the house. Please help!
ANSWER : A. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that can be frequently frustrating for pet owners who want to keep their furniture from being shredded on a constant basis. The texture of furniture and carpet is very appealing to cats and this why they frequently choose to spend their time on this activity as opposed to playing with their own cat toys. Here are some suggestions to help curb this unwanted behavior:

1. Purchase a cat scratching post or cat tree that is covered in carpeted or textured material. Place it in an appealing spot that your cat would be inclined to spend time (eg. in the sun). You can also place catnip on the scratching post or cat tree to make your cat even more interested in the new object.

2. You can utilize double sided tape on the ends of the furniture because you cat will not like the sticky feeling and will learn to not scratch in that region. Use the tape that has a lighter adhesive in order to prevent any permanent damage. Other materials, such as aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also be placed on the furniture to discourage the scratching.

3. Keep nails trimmed short by either learning to do this on your own at home or using a veterinary technician, or groomer. Nails can usually be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

4. Redirect the unwanted behavior. If your cat begins scratching, use a favorite or new toy to distract the cat from the scratching. Give your cat positive praise for not scratching.

5. As a last resort you can use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your cat when he or she is scratching inappropriately at your furniture. Generally, cats do not like water and this will discourage them from continuing the behavior.

Have patience with your cat because it can takes time to understand this is an unwanted behavior and that furniture is not another toy for them to use. You can always consult your veterinary or veterinary behaviorist to help with ideas or further solutions to this problem.

Read Full Q/A … : I found Pickle on

Q. My dog is what seems to be having trouble breathing taking short breaths
Hasnt been herself sleeps and lays around alot losing weight rapid why?
ANSWER : A. Without examination it is impossible to say. It could be due to heart, liver or kidney failure or possibly cancer. You need to see your vet as soon as possible for an examination and investigation. Probably blood tests and maybe an xray.

Q. What could be the cause of my 6 month old male kitten getting shortness of breath while playing for short periods of time?
ANSWER : A. Upper respiratory illnesses, feline asthma and other heart/lung related issues may all cause shortness of breath or exercise intolerance after a play session. Cats can pant some after playing hard, but will often return to normal quickly after doing so. If your kitten is actively panting, gasping for air or his gums/tongue turn pale or blue after playing, it may indicate a more serious issue. Bringing him into the vet for a checkup and alerting the vet to this issue is best so that an underlying cause can be found.