Aleutian Flu

What is Aleutian Flu in Ferrets? | Aleutian Disease

The Aleutian disease virus (ADV) is a severe condition that affects animals in the Mustelidae family, including ferrets, minks, otters, and other animals. The Aleutian disease is scientifically known as Carnivore Amdoparvovirus 1 or the Aleutian flu casually. It is popularly known as one of the deadly mink diseases. 

Ferret pet owners should establish strict measures to reduce the odds of contracting the disease. The Aleutian flu is a deadly disease for the Mustiliadae family, and it has at least five known strains.

It is a naturally occurring infection and highly contagious among ferrets and minks. It is impossible to diagnose ADV without the assistance of a vet or a kit. 

This article will inform you all you need to know about the Aleutian flu in ferrets, how to keep your pet safe, and what to do when your pet ferret tastes positive for the disease. You will be able to keep your ferret safe from dangerous diseases and keep your pet companion.

What Is the Source of ADV in Ferrets?

Transmission of the disease is through contact of bodily fluids with the virus, including feces, blood, or urine. The disease isn’t airborne, and your ferret can’t contract it by being close to a positive ferret. 

Aleutian flu first appeared in wild mink mammals, and later it became common in farm minks. The disease spread from minks to ferrets and other members of the Mustelidae family.

It is a detrimental disease, and your ferret is likely to die once you notice signs. It would help if you kept your ferret safe from contracting Aleutian flu. 

Aleutian flu in humans is not as severe as it is in mink mammals and ferrets. There aren’t many cases of Aleutian disease in humans, and you shouldn’t be worried about contracting it.

However, there is no need to take the risk of transmitting the disease when you doubt that your ferret is sick.

What Are the Signs of ADV in Ferrets?

Some several signs and symptoms can alert you that your ferret is sick. It would be best to have a veterinary expert in ferrets conduct a test to confirm that it is positive. Here are the signs to look for when you suspect your ferret has ADV. 

  • Muscle wasting
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Lethargy 
  • Paleness 
  • Weakness in the rear 
  • Black-colored feces

It is crucial to understand that it may be too late for your pet ferret when you notice the signs above. Aleutian flu is active if you see any of the signs and symptoms above.

Ferrets may not exhibit all the signs when the parvovirus is active in their bodies.

How Long Does the Virus Stay Inactive in Ferrets?

The Aleutian disease virus can stay inactive in ferrets for 2-3 years if your ferret doesn’t trigger it. Stress can trigger the activation of the disease after it has been dormant in a ferret for a while.

There aren’t many known reasons why the virus stays inactive for long or the incubation period for the virus. 

Overall, your ferret can test positive for the virus without showing symptoms that the virus is active. Your ferret can spread the disease without exhibiting any signs of the disease when the virus is inactive.

It is one of the reasons why ADV is a dangerous disease for ferrets. Once it is active, the health of your ferret will go downhill from there.

How is ADV Diagnosed?

The accurate way to diagnose ADV in ferrets is to carry out blood tests to identify various markers. Pet owners can use kits to draw blood and send samples to a lab for analysis.

However, the best way forward would be to ask your veterinarian to carry out the necessary diagnostic tests. 

It is hard to accurately diagnose the Aleutian disease virus in ferrets without a blood sample. Remember that tests identify whether your ferret is a carrier before seeing any signs or symptoms that the disease is active. 

You need to take extra care of your ferret if the results of the tests come back negative. Your doctor will advise the way forward if your pet tests positive for ADV. The counsel will depend on whether the virus is active or inactive.

Is There A Cure for ADV in Ferrets?

Administration of a Parvocide can kill the virus in ferrets. However, the success rates of curing ferrets of ADV are low.

A significant number are euthanized or dies once the virus is active in the ferret’s system. You need to understand the odds of your pet getting cured when the tests come back positive. 

Many ferret pet owners are not ready to let their ferrets be euthanized when the test results are positive. An alternative solution is to quarantine the ferret to avoid the spread of the disease. You need to keep it away from other ferrets or minks.

Also, you may have to choose euthanization when the virus is active because your pet will be in pain. 

Overall, it would help if you didn’t let your ferret socialize with other animals when it tests positive for the Aleutian disease virus. You need to keep your pet in its cage and ensure that it follows a healthy diet.

Keep an eye on your pet so that you notice the signs when the virus is active.

How to Keep Ferrets From Being Exposed to the Flu

The first step should be to have your pet tested to ensure that it is negative. Once you know your ferret tests negative, you should ensure that your ferret doesn’t get in contact with positive ferrets.

Letting your ferret socialize with others without enquiring about their health status is dangerous. If you don’t know the status of other ferrets near you, you should keep yours in their carrier or housing. 

Don’t let strangers pet your ferret or touch strange ferrets, as it can facilitate the transfer of the virus from one animal to the next. A carrier ferret for the virus will look healthy when the ferret is inactive, but it can be contagious. 

Pet owners tend to let pets roam around a vet’s office during check-ups or follow-ups. Keep your ferret in its carrier whenever you are at a vet’s office.

Vet offices contain many sick animals, and a ferret can pick up the virus from contaminated services. Only let your pet ferret out on the examination table during a visit to the veterinarian. 

You should have your pet ferrets tested for the Aleutian disease virus to take the best care of them. Separate any ferrets that are positive of the virus from the negative ones.

It would be best if you have new pet ferrets tested before adding them to the existing ferrets. That way, you don’t bring a positive ferret to a group of negative ones.

Do All Positive Ferrets Die?

No. A few of them may survive ADV, but many of them die from the virus. Monk mammals also have a high death rate when the virus activates.

The virus can live dormant in ferrets, but it will be active eventually and lead to the immature death of your ferret. There is a need for veterinary institutions to research treatment for the virus.


The Aleutian disease virus is a dangerous condition that causes death in ferrets. It would be best for pet owners to take precautionary measures to prevent the contraction of the contagious disease.

You should know the status of your pet ferret to be able to provide adequate care. Ferrets that test positive can be euthanized to save them the pain they’ll endure when the virus activates. 

Prevention is the best cure for Aleutian disease, and pet owners are responsible for ensuring that their pets don’t interact with contagious ones. Learn the best care practices to minimize the odds of your pet ferret contracting the deadly disease.

Another issue you must be aware of is hairball prevention tips. Hairballs in Ferrets can be very bad for their health.

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