What is Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination?

Your ferret will most likely make a full recovery from these conditions. If you spot any of the symptoms, take your ferret to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse his condition will become, and the more discomfort he will experience.

If your ferret is having trouble urinating, experiencing pain while urinating, or attempting to urinate too much, this is a sign that he is in need of medical assistance. Difficult, painful, and frequent urination is mainly caused by urinary tract infections or bladder stones.  Your ferret may also have blood or pus in his urine, which may have a strong, unpleasant smell.  He may begin to bite or lick his genitals in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. Male ferrets are more likely to develop blockages that lead to difficult, painful, and frequent urination, however, females can still suffer from this condition.

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Symptoms of Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination in Ferrets

If your ferret has a urinary tract infection or bladder stones, he may constantly feel the urge to urinate, but struggle to pass any urine. You may even hear him make noises that indicate he is uncomfortable while trying to pass urine. Other symptoms may include:

  • Biting or licking the genitals
  • Bloody urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Pus in the urine

Causes of Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination in Ferrets

Urinary tract infections can be caused by bacteria in the urethra or inflammation of the urinary tract. Difficult, painful, and frequent urination can also be caused by bladder stones, which can develop due to an enlarged prostate or incomplete emptying of the bladder. Urine that sits in the bladder may slowly form crystals that develop into bladder stones. Symptoms begin when the bladder stones begin to irritate the lining of the bladder. 

Diagnosis of Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination in Ferrets

If you spot any signs of a urinary tract infection or bladder stones, take your ferret to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Discuss the symptoms you have observed with your vet. Be sure to mention when you first noticed the symptoms, how often your ferret is trying to urinate, and what happens when he attempts to urinate. 

The vet will begin by performing basic tests, including a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, and urinalysis, if the ferret is able to pass a sample of urine. The results of these tests will help the vet determine if there is a bacterial infection that is causing the symptoms. The vet can also take X-rays or perform an ultrasound of the ferret’s lower abdomen. This is done to look for signs of bladder stones or cysts. Even if a bacterial infection is evident from the first tests, the vet may still choose to do an X-ray or ultrasound to ensure there are no other problems causing the ferret’s discomfort.

Treatment of Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination in Ferrets

Your ferret is probably in a great deal of discomfort, so treatment will need to begin right away to relieve some of the pain he is feeling. The type of treatment your ferret receives will depend on his diagnosis. If your ferret has a urinary tract infection and there are no signs of bladder stones, the vet will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and eliminate the infection. 

However, if there are signs of bladder stones or cysts, antibiotics are not effective. Some bladder stones, such as struvite stones caused by excess alkalinity, can be dissolved with the help of medication. Other stones, such as calcium oxalate stones caused by excess acidity, do not respond to medication. These stones will need to be surgically removed. Surgery is also advised if your ferret has any type of blockage in his urethra, such as a cyst, that is making it difficult or painful for him to urinate.

Recovery of Difficult, Painful, and Frequent Urination in Ferrets

It is very likely that your ferret will fully recover from either a urinary tract infection or bladder stones. Once your ferret has been released to you, make sure you follow the vet’s instructions closely. Medication will need to be administered as advised by the vet. If your ferret had bladder stones, the vet may recommend dietary changes to balance alkalinity or acidity. 

Ferrets have the tendency to lick or bite their genitals when they are experiencing discomfort. But, this can cause more bacteria to get into the ferret’s urethra and exacerbate the problem. Your vet may ask you to put a surgical cone on your ferret’s neck until he has completely healed to prevent him from coming into contact with his genitals.  

You will need to closely monitor your ferret’s condition and contact a vet if he begins to experience difficulty urinating again after treatment.