Ferrets are smallish, curious and lively mammals that appear in an array of colors, from cinnamon to black to white, or albino. Albinism in ferrets is a result of recessive genes. For the most part, albinism doesn't introduce problems for the critters, much to their loving owners' joy. However, albino ferrets occasionally do experience genetic issues with strong lighting.
Basic Health of Albino Ferrets
With regard to basic health, albino ferrets do not stand out from the rest of the pack in any prominent way, indicates Ailigh Vanderbush of the website SmallAnimalChannel.com. If you own an albino ferret, think of him as just another one of the guys.
Although albino ferrets are generally just as healthy and sturdy as individuals of other colors and patterns, they can be more susceptible to inherited seeing issues. Ferrets on the whole tend to have weak vision, and that of the albino varieties could be even more delicate when it comes to especially intense lighting. If you have an albino ferret in your care, light problems might be something you need to consider in your approach to your pet's lifestyle, whether concerning living environment or anything else. Despite that, not all albino ferrets have light issues.
Make sure your albino ferret stays in optimal condition by paying close attention to his exterior. If your albino ferret, or ferret of any color, for that matter, is healthy and in strong form, he'll have thick, glossy fur and eyes that are free of dullness or glazing. Healthy ferrets are lively, curious, spirited, watchful, nimble and energetic. If a ferret is problem-free, he'll probably be eager about interacting with you instead of fearful and antisocial in your presence. Health problems in ferrets are not always apparent from the outside. When you examine your albino ferret, don't look just for signs of good health; look also for indications of possible problems, such as too much wax collecting inside the ears, clumps of lost fur, runny nose or eyes, unusual protrusions, loose feces and bloating. Take your fur ball to the vet at the first hint of any of these things.
If you notice that your albino ferret's coat has started to take on a yellowish color, do not be alarmed; it is a common occurrence. Yellowing, normal in albino ferrets' fur, often comes about simply due to aging, annual season changes or high amounts of skin oils present in the coat -- not health problems. Even though yellowing isn't an indication of health issues in albino ferrets, it is important to bring your pet to the veterinarian for routine checkups, at least once a year.
- Ferret Education & Research Trust: Ferret Care & Info
- Ferrets for Dummies; Kim Schilling
- SmallAnimalChannel.com: Ferret Genetics
- SmallAnimalChannel.com: Albino Ferret Care
- Twycross Zoo: Mustela putorius furo - Ferret
- Ferret Information Rescue Shelter & Trust Society: Caring for Ferrets
- Find Out About Ferrets; Colin Patterson
- The Ferret Handbook; Gerry Bucsis and Barbara Somerville
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images