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Ferrets/Ferret slight wheezing in hammock



I got my ferret, Marceline, about a month and a half ago. About four nights ago I noticed her making a slight wheezing sound when she was napping in her hammock. She hadn't gotten into anything new, but I just so happened to have turned off the air filter by her cage and I had washed her hammock earlier that morning. I turned on the air filter again, took her out of the hammock, and took the hammock out of her cage. Within a few hours, her breathing had gone back to normal.

Today, I decided to put the hammock back in because she'd never had problems with it before. In other words, I just assumed that her wheezing had been caused by the air filter. She jumped right into it and took a nap. Within an hour, her breathing had the same wheezing quality as before. I quickly took it out, just in case.

She's had the same hammock the whole time she's been with me. Its been washed once a week using the same detergent. I've never noticed her breathing differently in it before now. Do you think that the hammock is really the problem? Or could it be the detergent? Or do you think something else could be the cause? Or maybe I'm just being an overprotective mom and I have just happened to never noticed it before.

Marcy really loves her hammock, and I would hate to have to confiscate it. Please let me know what you're thinking could be the cause, and what I could do to fix it.

Thanks for your time!

Dear Leigh,

Ferrets are very sensitive to soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, and many times to the fleece linings of their hammocks.  I carefully cut away the fleece linings of my ferrets hammocks.  Not only can they be allergic to the lining, but they very easily get their nails caught in it.  For this reason I'm also careful to keep terry cloth items away from my ferrets.

Now, back to the wheezing.  From what you've said, the problem seems to be coming from the hammock.  I wouldn't wash the hammock more than once every 2-3 weeks.  Use very little soap and make sure it's rinsed very well.  I never use fabric softener.  Note: ferrets love their scent in their belongings.  Also be careful not to bathe Marcy too often.  Much like cats, they are very capable of cleaning themselves.  Sometimes they are allergic to their shampoo.

Ferrets do sneeze and wheeze from time to time, just as we do.  However, you want to be careful that Marcy isn't coming down with a cold.  Watch for runny eyes, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.  If any of these things occur, a trip to the vet may be necessary.

I hope this info helps.  If the problem continues please let me know and we will investigate further.

Fond Regards,


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Janet Russek


I can answer questions re: Feeding(keeping that body weight up) General Care, Safety, Behavior, Best Cages, Proper Toys, Dangers to Ferrets (ferret proofing your home), Play Area/Room Suggestions.


I've raised ferrets very successfully for approximately twelve years. I usually kept three at a time. I presently have one. I've tried a variety of cages, habitats, toys, treats.

Highschool grad with some college.

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