Ferrets Are People Too

Ferrets have become popular pets and although they’re not traditional pets, they should still see a vet.

Did you know that ferrets can get canine distemper? The very disease for which we vaccinate dogs can be fatal in a ferret. Although the disease is the same, the vaccination is not. Be sure that your veterinarian is aware that ferrets can actually GET distemper from a vaccination meant for dogs. Ferrets must be vaccinated with a killed virus in order to be protected and safe.

Most ferrets come from breaders who spay/neuter and descent the animals before they are adopted. If this is not the case with your ferret, know that there are specific problems associated with an unaltered animal. Female ferrets are induced ovulators. This means that once they come into heat, they must be bred in order to go out of heat. If not bred, a cycling female can die from estrogen toxicity. This causes bone marrow suppression and severe anemia and eventually death. Unaltered males will have a very strong musky smell and be more prone to aggression. Even a neutered male may have some lingering scent, but it won’t be nearly as strong as that of an unaltered male.

As ferrets age, they are prone to several diseases. Among these are Cushings’s Disease, Insulinoma and Lymphoma.

Ulcers are also very common in ferrets and can kill within days if left untreated.

Ferrets should be fed food specifically formulated for ferrets or a high quality cat food. Although they enjoy sweet treats, this can lead to obesity and malnourishment. They will also adversely affect the pancreas.

Due to their curious nature, ferrets are also prone to eating things they shouldn’t. Bowel obstructions are not uncommon.

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