Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm that is transmitted via mosquito bites. Ferrets have very small hearts and even one adult worm can result in serious illness. The worms not only interfere with the normal pumping function of the heart, but also small fragments may break off and travel to the lungs, where they can cause serious lung disease.
Our area’s climate supports enough mosquitoes to keep the disease cycle going. Even indoor ferrets are at risk, as mosquitoes do come inside the house. Heartworm disease can be treated, but the disease is very serious and the treatment is risky and expensive.
Prevention of heartworm disease in your pet ferret is easy, effective, safe, and cost-effective. Ivermectin and selamectin are the most commonly used drugs to prevent heartworm disease. They may be dispensed as an oral liquid, chewable pill, or topical “spot-on” and are given or applied monthly.