The influenza virus is quite contagious and can be passed on from humans to ferrets, and vice versa. However, it is far more likely a ferret contracts the human influenza virus from a person, than a human catching the flu from a ferret. And much like humans, the ferret flu is caused by the influenza virus.
Unlike humans, the flu found in ferrets can sometimes prove to be fatal, especially old and young ferrets with weak immunities. The common flu can also complicate the health of ferrets with secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia.
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms of this viral infection are the same in ferrets as they are in humans, including:
- Clear, thick mucus discharge from the eyes and nose
- Inflamed eyes (swollen and red)
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness and lethargy
- High degree of fever
These symptoms can last anywhere from five to fourteen days.
The influenza virus is spread through direct contact with infected carriers (i.e., humans and animals) and from a contaminated environment; it is also airborne.