Illustrated Articles

Small Mammals + Medical Conditions

  • Ferrets commonly develop skin disease, including infections with parasites (fleas, mites, ticks), bacteria, viruses (distemper), and fungus (ringworm). They are also subject to both benign and malignant tumors, including mast cell tumors. Adrenal tumors also cause hair loss and itchy skin in ferrets. All skin problems should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian, who will recommend the most appropriate treatment for the specific problem.

  • Telemedicine is defined as the act of practicing medicine at a distance. Telemedicine can be offered in a number of different ways: telephone calls, text messaging, online chat, email consultations, and visits conducted through videoconferencing programs. Telemedicine is not appropriate for every concern, such as a pet hit by a car; however, a number of common veterinary complaints can be addressed via telemedicine (e.g., flea allergies, minor limping, mild diarrhea). While it is impossible to perform a complete, comprehensive exam during a telemedicine appointment, in many cases your veterinarian can gather enough information to arrive at a reasonable diagnosis and start treatment. If your veterinarian determines that your pet requires in-person care, your veterinarian can help you determine when and where your pet should be seen and may be able to give you an idea of what to expect during the in-person veterinary visit.

  • Walking Dandruff (cheyletiellosis) in rabbits is caused by a common rabbit fur mite (Cheyletiella parasitovorax). The mite's effects are called "walking dandruff" because these large, whitish mites crawl across the skin and fur, and cause excessive flaky skin on a rabbit.

  • Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a progressive degenerative neurological disease of African and European hedgehogs sometimes referred to as progressive paresis/paralysis. It has been noted with increasing frequency since the mid 1990's. It slowly degrades the animal's muscle control perhaps similar to that of MS in humans.