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This information was extracted from an article by Dr. Deborah W. Kemmerer in the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Ferrets magazine with her permission.  Please see the magazine article for more detailed information.  If your veterinarian has any questions on this protocol, Dr. Kemmerer's contact information is provided above.

The following protocol is used by Dr.  Kemmerer in her practice to treat ferrets infected with the ECE virus.  Aggressive treatment and in-hospital care for the first 48 hours is recommended.  The drugs and dosages Dr. Kemmerer uses are listed below, but please note that different drugs and dosages can work just as well.

  • Injectable fluids administered subcutaneously: Normosol or Lactated Ringer's at the rate of 15 cc per pound of body weight three times daily.
  • Injectable antibiotics: Enrofloxacin (Baytril) at 2 mg per pound of body weight once daily.
  • Injectable prednisolone at 1 mg per pound of body weight once.  This may be repeated once or twice a week if needed.
  • oral Alpha Interferon at 30 units twice daily.
  • Force-feeding A/D (available from your vet) or chicken baby food mixed with Ritrol (an oral electrolyte powder) at 10 cc per pound of body weight three times daily.

Alpha Interferon is one of the very few antiviral drugs in existence.  Although there have been no studies to demonstrate its effectiveness against ECE,  Dr. Kemmerer has been using Alpha Interferon because it may have some efficacy against this  virus.  Dr. Kemmerer's experiences provide some anectodotal evidence that it may shorten the course and lessen the severity of the disease.


  • oral Alpha Interferon for at least a week.
  • oral antibiotics (Amoxicillin or Baytril) for at least two weeks.
  • feedings of A/D or baby food with Ritrol until the ferret eats on its own. (A two pound ferret requires a minimum of 20 cc of food three times daily as a bare minimum for survival.)
  • oral prednisolone at least every other day for a minimum of two weeks.
  • oral cimetidine to prevents ulcers and excess gastric secretion for up to two weeks.
  • Echinacea to help the immune system.
  • Milk Thistle to help lower liver enzymes.