Ferrets cannot ‘catch a cold’ but they are susceptible to the human influenza virus (flu). The incubation period is 24 – 48 hours and the course of the disease usually lasts five days.
Symptoms are similar to those in people with the flu (and to the early signs of distemper) including nasal discharge, sneezing, fever and loss of appetite.
Treatment consists of decongestants and antibiotics if there is a secondary bacterial infection. Occasionally fluid therapy may be required.
Affected ferrets should be Isolated, especially from young ferrets, who can be more severely affected by the disease.
Never give flu or cold medications intended for humans to your ferrets. These will never help and in most cases are as likely to poison, or even kill, your pet.