Susan Brown also notes that the normal insulin level is 0-20,
but that insulin may appear normal even in animals with
The following information is extracted from an article in The
FAIR [Ferret Adoption, Information & Rescue Society]
Report, Vol. II, No. 2, by Mary Van Dahm, with a few
1. Blood glucose
Glucose is a sugar, the main energy source for the body. It is
controlled by the amount of insulin in the blood. Its level
varies through the day, higher just after a meal, lower when
the ferret hasn't eaten. A non-fasted blood glucose test might
give values up to 207 mg/dl, depending on when the ferret last
ate. Testing the blood glucose after withholding food from the
ferret for 4 hours (fasting blood glucose) eliminates the
variation and gives you a more definite number. A low reading
(hypoglycemia) may be a sign of insulinoma . A high reading
(hyperglycemia) is rare and might be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes is rare in ferrets and, insulinoma can also
cause a high glucose reading. You should double-check any
diabetes diagnosis by looking for sugar in the urine as
Note: Fasting a ferret that
is suspected of insulinoma is NOT recommended.
2. Pack cell volume/hematocrit (PCV/HCT)
This is the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. Low
readings indicate anemia; high readings are usually a sign of
3. Red blood cells (RBC)
Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues and carbon
dioxide back to the lungs. Low readings show anemia.
4. White blood cells (WBC)
White blood cells are part of the immune system. Readings over
about 7000 may mean the ferret is fighting off an infection,
cold or flu. Readings over 10,000 may be early signs of
lymphoma or another cancer. Unusually low readings indicate
anemia and a bone marrow problem.
Another type of white blood cell. High readings can indicate a
"smoldering" infection, possibly Helicobacter
mustelae. Many, but not all, cases of lymphosarcoma also show
elevated lymphocyte levels.
Another type of white blood cell. Often an indicator of
intestinal disorders, infection, or cancer. Other parts of the
blood profile must also be considered for a diagnosis.
7. Protein, Albumin and Globulin
Albumin is a kind of protein, and globulin is a general term
for all proteins that aren't albumin. The numbers indicate the
ferret's general health and nutrition. Albumin also helps show
how well the liver and kidneys are working.
8. BUN and Creatinine
The job of the kidneys is to filter out impurities. If they
aren't working well, these levels will be high.
9. Alkaline phosphatese
This is an enzyme found in the liver and bone. When bones are
growing or the liver is damaged, lots of this is released into
10. Total bilirubin
A by-product of the normal breakdown of hemoglobin in red
blood cells. Helps diagnose liver disease and bile duct
11. Sodium, Potassium and Chloride
Controlled by the kidneys, these are commonly called blood
electrolytes. They are involved in water balance, acid/base
balance, and the transmission of nerve impulses, especially to
12. Calcium and Phosphorus
These minerals are controlled by the parathyroid glands and
the kidneys. The levels show possible problems with bones,
blood clotting, and nerve, muscle, and cell activity.