Cryptosporidium, Crypto for short, is a microscopic parasite that may be found in your ferret’s poop. It can also affect humans and can cause diarrhea in both species.
Infected mother ferrets can transmit crypto to their offspring. Ferrets can also get crypto from uncooked meat, contaminated water and other ferrets. Researchers have found that close to half of all ferrets carry crypto but are asymtomatic, that is they don’t display symtoms. Some ferrets that were in the study had compromised immune systems, but others were healthy.
While the CDC has no documented cases of crypto beingl transmitted from pet ferrets to humans, they may be a source of human infection. If you have a compromised immune system, check with your doctor as to the safety of getting a ferret as a pet.
Crypto is diagnosed through testing of the ferret’s feces. Treatment involves the use of drugs prescribed by your vet. It’s very important to treat the symptoms to stop diarrhea which can result in dehydration.
If your ferret has diarrhea or you suspect illness, an examination at the vet is necessary.
Practice good hygiene after handling or cleaning up after your ferret. Wash hands thoroughly. The rule of thumb is to sing (or say) the Happy Birthday song twice washing hands.