Welcome to our series on Common Ferret Illnesses, and specifically our deep-dive into ferrets suffering from heart disease. In this article, you will learn what causes it, the most common symptoms, and which ferrets are most at risk. What is Heart Disease? Dilated cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease in ferrets that causes damage to the heart muscle. The heart will enlarge and weaken, causing the heart to become less efficient at pumping. Some vets believe it is caused by nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms: Fluid build up in chest and bellyLow body temperatureFrequent rest during playDecreased appetiteCoughingPale gumsDifficultly breathing Most at Risk: Ferrets over the age of 3 are most likely to develop heart disease. If a ferret is fed an improper diet, they are also more at risk. How Do You Treat Ferret Heart Disease? There is no cure or vaccine to prevent ferret heart disease. Ferrets with dilated cardiomyopathy can live 2-3 years after diagnosis with proper treatment. Your vet will most likely perform an ultrasound to take a look at your ferret’s heart in order to confirm the diagnosis. If your ferret does in fact have dilated cardiomyopathy, their heart will look bigger and rounder than usual. As with most diseases, the best thing you can do for your ferret is provide them with the healthiest diet you can afford, and keep stress to a minimum.