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Throat Swollen On Ferret

What are possible causes for swelling on a ferret’s throat?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: December 3, 2015, 9:05 p.m. EST

ferret standing
Via roy maloon/Flickr 
Ferrets normally have a long, lean look and no lumps or bumps on the neck.

Q: My ferret has a swelling in his throat. I noticed it early yesterday, but he doesn't seem to have a fever. He does have slight diarrhea and the poop looks slightly mustard-colored with a smidgen of a streak of blood. He is not vomiting or coughing. His activity is the same, and he is eating OK. Can you make an educated guess about what is going on? 

A: I am sorry to hear about your ferret. It is possible that the diarrhea and abnormal stools are connected to whatever disease is causing the throat issue, but a veterinarian who knows about ferrets should be able to tell you if there is disease after doing an examination.

There are only a few things that can cause a swollen throat in ferrets. Here’s a question for you: did your ferret swallow something that got caught in the area of his throat called the esophagus? When something is caught in the throat, you should see your ferret trying to regurgitate or vomit the material up. Because your ferret is not doing that, it may more likely be another issue that is causing the throat swelling. 

See other ferret health questions and answers 

Ferrets have lymph nodes that are near the throat and with some diseases, such as infection and cancer, the lymph nodes can enlarge and cause a swelling near the throat. 

Interestingly enough, ferrets also store fat around their lymph nodes. You may be seeing nothing more than a very large, fatty lymph node. 

Finally, depending on where this swelling is in the throat, salivary glands can become infected, inflamed or cancerous. Those, too, will cause a swelling along the throat.

Posted: December 3, 2015, 9:05 p.m. EST

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