Ferret Analgesia

If you need to provide pain relief for your ferret friend, then look no further!

Now you have improved your ferret handling skills, its time to help your furry friend!

Ferret Handling

To provide analgesia for your ferret, consider two main classes of drugs:

  • Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids

NSAIDs in Ferrets

You guessed it, MELOXICAM! Our favourite drug in exotics care. From novice to specialist!

Meloxicam and carprofen are great choices for mild to moderate pain relief in ferrets. Both are COX-2 inhibitors which reduces the risk of gastritis, gastric erosive lesions, renal damage and haemorrhage. Both meloxicam and carprofen can be used orally and subcutaneously once daily. Use them wisely!

So once again, meloxicam is a great choice!

Opioids in Ferrets

Use opioids cautiously in ferrets, they provide excellent pain relief but can induce respiratory depression. Opioids are often chosen for peri-operative pain relief, trauma or moderate-severe pain.

Your two most common choices are;
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol

As in cats and dogs, Buprenorphine provides superior pain relief acting partially on mu receptors. Butorphanol is a mu antagonist and kappa receptor agonist, it provides a shorter duration, and lower potency of pain relief.

Buprenorphine is a great choice for ferrets.

Other opioids can be used safely in CRIs, such as Fentanyl, often used with ketamine in combination. Fentanyl is a short acting mu opioid receptor agonist. But it does not last long!

Tramadol is controversial in every species except humans, so consider it as an option as you would in dogs and cats. In my experience people have passionate views on tramadol, both positive and negative.


Can be found here
Ferret Analgesia with Doses


  • Lichtenberger, M. Analgesia in the ferret and rabbit. Proceedings of the SCIVAC Congress, Rimini, Italy 2007.
  • Oostrom, HV, Schoemaker, NJ, Uilenreef, JJ. Pain Management in Ferrets. Vet Clin Exot Anim 14 (2011) 105-116

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