Welcome to our series on Common Ferret Illnesses, and specifically our deep-dive into ferrets suffering from intestinal blockages. In this article, you will learn what causes them, the most common symptoms, and which ferrets are most at risk. We will also provide an overview on what steps you will want to take to help your ferret recover. What is an Intestinal Blockage? Intestinal blockages are caused when a ferret ingests (eats) something that their body is incapable of digesting, so it gets stuck in their body. They can’t poop it out and they can’t throw it up. It’s just stuck. This is the leading cause of death in ferrets under 2 years old, according to Ferrets for Dummies. However, in our experience ferrets of all ages are equally interested in ingesting things they shouldn’t eat! Our theory: Perhaps intestinal blockages are more common with younger ferrets because a new owner may have not removed all the dangerous objects and properly ferret proofed their home? Just a thought… Symptoms of Intestinal Blockages: Constipation (trouble pooping)Smaller poop than normalBloated bellyPainful bellyLoss of appetiteWeight lossVomitingPawing at mouthDehydrationTeeth grinding (sign of pain)Face rubbingLethargy (overly sleepy)ComaSeizure Most at Risk: Ferrets with new ferret owners as parents, and ferrets in new environments that haven’t been fully ferret proofed, are most likely to get ingest something that causes an intestinal blockage. Younger ferrets (under the age of two) are statistically more likely to suffer from intestinal blockages as well. How Do You Treat Ferrets with an Intestinal Blockage? Moose ate window seal foam and developed an intestinal blockage If you suspect your ferret ate something they shouldn’t, monitor your ferret closely for changes in behavior. Make sure to place your ferret in a place that they cannot ingest more of the offending item. You must do your best to locate the item they ingested. Check under your bed and raid their hidey hole. If they ate it once, they will eat it again. Next, if your ferret is acting especially sleepy and you do not see them poop, take them to the vet immediately. Intestinal blockages are extremely time sensitive. Your vet may have to perform surgery to remove the blockage. As with most illnesses, keep your ferret hydrated and fed. Our ferret, Moose, ingested a blueberry-sized piece of window foam and he almost passed away from it. The first night it happened, we cleaned our room from head to toe (or so we thought). It turns out we forgot to look under our dresser where there was a huge roll of foam with a bunch of bite marks in it. The second night, Moose ingested a bigger piece and he quickly became very lethargic. Moose vomited all night long and became limp and unresponsive. We had to rush him to the emergency vet the following morning. When he passed the piece of foam in his poop 24 hours later, we could not understand how he survived at all. It would be the equivalent of us swallowing a softball and trying to pass it in the toilet. Ouch!!!