According to VeterinaryPartner.com, a ferret experiences a seizure when abnormal activity in its brain causes it to lose consciousness and results in strange body movements. Seizures that stop in just a few seconds are not fatal, but longer seizures that continue after two minutes could threaten a ferret's life.
According to VeterinaryPartner.com, the most common cause of seizures in ferrets is insulinoma. Also known as pancreatic tumors or hypoglycemia, insulinoma has no known cure, according to Ferret Association of Connecticut. Tumors grow on the pancreas of a ferret with insulinoma, causing it to produce too much insulin. In the early stages of the disease, a seizure could look like the ferret is just staring quietly into space for a few seconds. As it gets more severe, the ferret might get cold and stiff during seizures, and in rare cases, it might even twitch violently and scream.
A ferret can experience a seizure after a blunt or penetrating injury to the head, for example after falling from a tree or fighting with other animals, according to PetPlace.com. Head trauma can be fatal, so the ferret has to visit a vet immediately for an examination. The vet might find that the brain is swollen.
Canine distemper, a contagious disease, can infect a ferret through airborne virus or contact with body fluids from an infected animal. The virus also can cling to shoes or clothes in the woods, pet stores or breeding facilities, and come into contact with the ferret at home. If seizure is caused by canine distemper, the ferret might have discharge from its eyes, diarrhea and fever. The skin on its chin, lips, footpads, thighs and anal areas become red and thick. Canine distemper has no known cure, and VeterinaryPartner.com recommends euthanasia for an infected ferret. Vaccines are available to prevent the disease.
Several common chemicals and cleaners can poison a ferret. Poisoning also can happen if the ferret overdoses on medication. According to Ferrets for Dummies, the most common ferret poisons are rat poison and Tylenol.