Q: My ferret is about 10 months old. Today he was drinking some water from a cup, and he started taking short, quick breaths. It sounded like he was trying to throw up. He has done this before when he ate his Petromalt too fast. Could this be caused by juvenile lymphoma? Do you have any suggestions or advice?
A: It is very unlikely this is caused by juvenile lymphoma. I have seen ferrets that are so exuberant that they eat or drink too fast and then have to stop to catch their breath. There is nothing wrong with them; they just have to take a few breaths to catch up.
It would be unusual for a medical condition to cause what you are describing. If you are concerned, visit your ferret’s veterinarian and have him or her watch your ferret eat and drink. Give water to your ferret just as you do at home to see if he does at the office what he does at home.
If your veterinarian believes this could be a medical problem, he or she might want to sedate your ferret and place a scope into his mouth to look at the structures responsible for swallowing.