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Ferret World
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 8


The Doctor Is In


Colds And Flu
The domestic ferret is one of the few animals they can catch a human cold or flu virus.  Conversely, if it has a cold or flu, it can pass it on to humans.  If you have a cold or flu, try not to handle your ferret until you are over your symptoms.  If you must handle it, cannot put it next to your face or cough or sneeze directly on it.  Wash your hands before handling the ferret.  Do not allow anyone else who has a cold or flu to handle your ferret. 

The cold symptoms in a ferret are similar to those in a human - runny nose and sneezing.  As long as the ferret is breathing properly, see that it stays warming gets plenty of liquids, food and rest.  If the congestion is heavy, a quarter teaspoon of children's Sudaphed, or similar product, given up to three times a day will relieve some of the symptoms.  Put the Sudaphed in your hand and add diluted the ferretone or linetone.  Let your ferret lap it up.  Be very careful about squirting anything directly in the ferret's mouth.  If it should aspirate the medication, the ferret could develop a form of chronic pneumonia.  If the symptoms persist for more than five days or the ferret seems especially listless and does not eat or drink, see your veterinarian at once.  Colds are more serious in ferret than in humans and can quickly developed into pneumonia.

A 1/8 tablet dose of aspirin may be used to ease pain or reduce swelling from an injury.  It is best to administer this only on the advice of veterinarian, however, as the aspirin may lead to increased internal bleeding in the event of a serious injury.

  Intestinal Blockage
I've previously mentioned the dangers of intestinal blockage in the ferret.  If your ferret develops a persistent cough or choking that is not accompanied by runny nose and watery eyes, monitor its food intake and waste elimination closely.  Put it in a separate cage was measured amounts of food and water and a clean litterbox.  If after half a day (and winning that one is taking a chance), you find that your ferret has not eaten or eliminated or if the stool is very thin and almost hairlike, rush it to the vet!  Do so earlier if the ferret seems to be bloated and in pain.  An intestinal blockage is fatal if not treated in time.  It is in all too common cause of death.  Such a blockage may be caused by something as small as a pencil eraser or a peanut or too many raisins.  Blockages may seem to disappear for a time as the foreign object moves into and back out of the stomach opening to the intestines.  If you see a pattern of thin or runny stool followed by a normal stool and then another abnormal stool, see a veterinarian! 

Protruding Rectum
The normal ferret them should be flushed with the skin.  A slightly protruding rectum is not uncommon and may correct itself if the cause can be determined and corrected.  Most often is caused by continued feeding of moisten food for too long of a time, a prolonged period of straining during bowel movement or some intestinal viruses.  If it does not clear up by itself in a few days, if the rectum is bleeding or the protrusion is very pronounced, take your ferret to a veterinarian.

  Swollen Vulva
Most ferret sold in pet stores have been altered before sale.  If your ferret's vulva becomes swollen, it may be a sign of an incomplete neutering, ovarian tissue migration, an adrenal gland tumor or that the breeder of your ferret did not believe in early spaying.  This can quickly lead to an infection or anemia in the female ferret.  It is very important that you take your ferret to a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine and correct the cause. 

Many of the injury suffered by ferret so the results of the fall.  Being extremely nearsighted, they can mistake a major height for a short jump.  The results can be anything from sprains, to broken bones or internal injuries.  If your ferret has suffered a fall, examine it carefully.  Obviously bent or disjointed limbs require immediate medical attention.  If nothing is immediately obvious, observe its movements.  If it limps or has trouble coordinating its back leg movements, seek medical attention immediately!  If it seems normal, monitor its bowel movements.  A tarry looking stool is a sign of internal injuries and requires medical attention.  Lethargy is also sign of potential internal injury as is abdominal tenderness. 

Picture 16

Sick Ferret 

If your ferret stops eating in drinking for any length of time is a sure sign of illness and worth a trip to the veterinarian.  Pay particular attention to signs of dehydration which quickly lead to death.  Often this is due to a prolonged bout of diarrhea.  One quick check is too scruff the skin over the ferret shoulders.  Release the skin and it should quickly spring back into place.  If it does not, this is a sign of severe dehydration.  You need to get your ferret to a veterinarian as quickly as possible!  In the case of severe diarrhea, if you cannot get to a vet right away, Pepto Bismol, administered in one third teaspoon doses three times a day may control it until you can get to that.  The animal will need plenty of water too, even if you have to force a down the syringe or eyedropper.  Place the syringe or eyedropper in the corner of the ferret's mouth between the lip and teeth.  Squeeze slowly so as to allow the ferret to drink the liquid.  Squeezing too fast will cause the ferret to joke.  Remember, severe diarrhea is life-threatening to an animal as small as a ferret.  Get the ferret to a vet as soon as possible. 

If you're concerned that your ferret is not eating, make sure it really is not eating.  Confined to its cage.  Make sure the litter box is freshly filled and that there is a measured amounts of food and water so that you contract both input and output carefully.  You may find that your critter has a stash of food someplace and is chowing down regularly out of sight.

  One recipe that very often works to stimulate the appetite of a sick ferret is called duck soup, named in honor of a ferret named Lucky Duck, for whom the recipe was first concocted.

1/2 cup of high-quality, dry kitten food

1 8 cup (approximately about equal to the volume of one regular ice cube) of suspect now or equivalent liquid, nondairy food supplement, found in most grocery and drugstores in eight ounce cans.  Ferrets seem to like Strawberry the best but any flavor except chocolate is fine.  Pour the remaining Sustical into an ice cube tray and freeze.  After his frozen the suspect elk cubes will keep for several weeks in a plastic bag in your freezer.

1 and 1/2 inch ribbon of Nutrical / Nutistat (interest that is available at many pet shops.  It is a high calorie food supplement used for many animals).

Ferretone / linetone - a pump if desired.

Place the kitten food in a small bowl.  And sufficient hot water to soften.  Mash thoroughly with a fork (it is better to use a blender).

And more water as necessary to make a stiff paste.  Stir in the Nutrical and ferretone if desired the mixture should be the consistency of a thin paste or thick soup.  You can and more water if necessary to make a very thin mixture if you have to force feeding the ferret within eyedropper.  Again, if you have to force feed, put the mixture in the corner of the first mouth between the lip and teeth and let it eat the mixture from there.  Check the temperature before you begin feeding.  It should be warm, not hot.  You may microwave the mixture if necessary to warm it, but be sure to stir well and make sure that there are no hot spots. 

Feed the ferret all it will eat.  Cover and refrigerate any left over it will keep approximately one day.  Microwave to re-warm.  Remember to check the temperature of any microwaved portion carefully parts of the mixture may feel only warm but other parts may be hot.

  Most ferrets will keep duck soup eagerly.  It's high in fact, has proteins from the kitten chow and vitamins and minerals from the Sustical and Nutrical, as well as water.  Don't make a steady diet of this after your ferret recovers.  It's regular food is best for long-term nurse with.  Another food option is strained chicken baby food.  You can warm this slightly in the microwave oven.  Place a little on your finger and run it on the gums to see if you can entice the ferret to eat on its own.

Ferrets are susceptible to heartworm.  The heartworm larva is transmitted by mosquito.  During the mosquito season to ferret should receive a monthly dose of invermectin, which is available through your veterinarian in several different forms.  Some ferrets prefer the chewable tablets.  Some will only take it if you mash up the pill form and makes it with ferretone / linetone.  Heartworm is fatal but easily prevented.

  Hidden dangers because ferrets are so curious, they often find themselves in situations that are life-threatening.  The empty cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels are just large enough for if the ferret to get its head stuck inside.  If you aren't around to remove it, the ferret will panic often to the point of severely lacerating its tongue or rupturing its larynx.  Take a few seconds to tears such tubes lengthwise before discarding them.

  Ferrets like to tunnel under things.  Throw rugs or small area rugs are great places to play until someone steps on the rug.  The very cautious for you step.  A ferret makes a small bump under a rug that is very difficult to see.  Always watch where you step.  A similar danger exists for couch and sofa cushions although here, the danger is sitting rather than stepping on the burrowing critter.

  When you open your refrigerator, make sure your ever curious ferret has not decided to climb inside to see what's new.  Same goes for washers, dryers and dishwashers.  When you do laundry, make sure that the dirty clothes do not included a sleeping ferret. 

Picture 17

Lost Ferret 

To a curious ferret, the door to the outside is just the door to another room.  Given even half a chance it will dart out between your legs without you ever seeing it leave.  Once out it will go into its explore mode, quickly become lost in starve if it is not found soon.

  First, if you can't find your ferret, check the home thoroughly again.  Often the ferret is simply misplaced and hasn't escaped.  A second look around the house may reveal that it has decided to take a nap in some strange, never before visited place in the house right under your nose.

  If it is lost, contact the police, animal control officer and local shelters.  It pays to advertise too.  Put in and in the local newspapers and place posters around the neighborhood, particularly where children are likely to congregate (schools, clubs, playgrounds, ball fields).  For an offer of a rewarded, you can recruit a medium-sized army of children.  Ferrets have been found several miles from home so don't necessarily restrict your posters to the block for you live.  If you can, place its cage and bedding, with food and water outside.  It might locate it should it stumble on its own sent and find its way back.  You may just be fortunate to look inside and find your wayward pet looking back to wondering where you've been.

  The Final Word
I have attempted to answer most of the questions asked by the first-time ferret honor and many questions asked by the more experienced owner.  If some of the material seems negative, it was not intentionally so.  Questions asked are usually relative to the problems sometimes experienced with a new type of pet.  Domestic ferret is any new pet on the scene in the United States.  There is much for the new ferret owner to learn.  I think you'll find that you will be very happy with your choice of pet and that you will grow to love your ferret and beloved by it more than any other pet you have their owned. 


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