What is Increased Thirst And Urination?
In ferrets, an increased level of thirst (commonly referred to as polydipsia) and an increased level of urination (commonly referred to as polyuria) can be signs of a serious underlying medical condition. That said, it can sometimes be difficult to detect an increased level of urination or thirst, especially if the ferret is subject to changing climatic conditions. Because of this, vets will commonly use other symptoms to diagnose the problems. However, this does not mean to say that an increased level of urination or thirst should be disregarded, as the underlying conditions can prove extremely debilitating for the ferret or even threaten its life.
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Symptoms of Increased Thirst And Urination in Ferrets
An increased level of thirst and urination can be difficult symptoms to detect. However, once noticed, it is imperative that the owner seeks immediate veterinary assistance.
If suffering from one of the conditions that commonly prompts the production of excessive amounts of urine, the ferret will commonly start making more frequent trips to its toilet area. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat hard to monitor for even the most diligent owners, as it would require round the clock surveillance of the animal. Instead, it is commonly suggested for owners to stay alert for an increased smell of urea in and around the ferret's enclosure. Furthermore, it should be noted that the average amount of urine produced by any given ferret can vary wildly in quantity. This means that just because an individual ferret produces a large amount, it is not necessarily suffering from a serious health condition.
In most cases where the ferret is suffering from a condition that prompts polyuria, the animal will typically have a correspondingly increased level of thirst. This is much easier to measure than urination, as the owner will be controlling the amount of water that the ferret receives each day and can easily judge whether or not the animal's requirement for liquids is increasing. In this instance, it is important for owners to make sure that the ferret is getting all the fluids it needs, as otherwise, the increased levels of urination can gradually lead to dehydration (which brings its own set of health problems).
Causes of Increased Thirst And Urination in Ferrets
In the majority of cases, an increased level of urination and/or thirst in ferrets can be traced back to either kidney or liver disease, and in some instances to diabetes. If the functionality of the kidneys or liver is impaired, then the body may start to require more water as a means of flushing toxins out of the body via urination that cannot be otherwise dealt with by the organs themselves. This then leads to an increased amount of urination. Diabetes on the other hand, causes the levels of sugar in the ferret's body to increase and thereby absorb more water which is lost in the urine. This creates a demand for yet more water, prompting the animal to drink large amounts in an effort to slake a seemingly unquenchable thirst.
Diagnosis of Increased Thirst And Urination in Ferrets
Once the ferret is brought to the clinic, the vet will begin the appointment by performing a basic physical examination. It is at this stage that more symptoms of the underlying condition are often identified, such as vomiting, weight loss, weakness in the extremities, lethargy, etc. The vet may at this stage decide to take a blood sample for further testing, as this can help determine the root cause of the issue. Additionally, they may have a series of questions for the owner regarding the ferret's medical history and its living conditions, as well as the timeline surrounding the appearance of the symptoms.
Treatment of Increased Thirst And Urination in Ferrets
If the ferret has become dehydrated due to the insufficient provision of drinking water, then the vet may choose to intravenously administer more fluids to the ferret in order to quickly replenish its lost liquids. After this, they will look to address the underlying issue - in the case of diabetes, this typically means that the ferret will require regular doses of insulin in order to maintain its proper blood sugar level. Kidney and liver problems comprise a wide range of issues, including poisoning, growths or fluid retention and each needs its own course of treatment in order to be properly resolved. These treatments can range from surgery to a course of drugs.
Recovery of Increased Thirst And Urination in Ferrets
In the case of diabetes, the ferret will begin to display an improvement as soon as treatment begins. That said, insulin only manages the condition and is by no means a cure, so owners should be prepared to deliver ongoing care for the remainder of the ferret's life. Other issues can have longer recovery periods, however, with surgery to remove growths from the liver or kidneys taking multiple weeks to heal (or longer for older ferrets). The vet may also wish to schedule more appointments both to check the progress that the ferret is making and to ensure that the underlying condition is not at risk of recurring.