The average life span for the domestic ferret is five to eight years. Veterinarians consider a ferret to be middle-aged at three years and senior at five or more years of age. To gain perspective on their life span, each year of a ferret’s life is approximately equal to 10–14 years of a human’s life. As a result, health changes can occur quickly as your ferret ages.
All ferrets should have a yearly physical examination. After the age of three, annual blood work can help us detect changes in function of the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and other organs. After the age of five, a veterinary examination, including blood profile and urine exam, should be scheduled every six months along with annual X-rays to monitor changes in size and shape of the heart and other organs. The focus of the exams is to ensure your ferret’s health, develop a plan for preventing future health problems, and follow up on any previous health issues. In addition to the yearly examinations and workups, your ferret should be seen immediately for any signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, difficult breathing, or excessive lethargy.