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Just like many other animals, your pet ferret can also conceal its symptoms of the distress of illness. It is up to the pet owner i.e., you to observe whether their ferret is having any change in their health or not. In case you notice your ferret exhibiting any untoward behavior, it is time to consult one of the reputed ferret vets in your locality.
A ferret can have its own set of health-related issues and has to be taken to a vet at regular intervals. We recommend you to make sure that your pet ferret is taken for an annual checkup until it becomes five-year-old. After that, make sure you are taking your ferret to a vet after an interval of six months.
Additionally, vaccines are recommended particularly as a preventive measure against distemper and rabies. Your pet ferret also stands at risk for fleas. As such, they should be taken care of with a month-by-month preventive routine.
When should you take your ferret to the ferret vets?
1. Booster shots and yearly exam
A newly acquired ferret initially requires a thorough physical exam. These include examining the eyes, teeth, lungs, heart, abdominal palpation, and ears. Your pet ferret should be also examined for the presence of internal parasites by conducting a fecal examination, as well as, ear mites. Meanwhile, older ferrets should be checked twice every year. Blood tests are also required to be conducted to assess indicators for the disease.
It is unfortunate but true that ferrets are vulnerable to different types of illnesses. Do you observe anything unusual in terms of its bowel or eating routine, behavior, difficulty with breathing, or lack of energy? It is time for you to take your ferret to a good vet at the earliest.
A ferret can also be prone to Aleutian Disease Virus and canine distemper. They may also ail from respiratory illnesses or flu-like symptoms, which have similarities with the common cold. Their human companions can transmit such ailments into them. Make sure to handle your pet fret with caution in case you are unwell yourself.
The most common diseases a ferret can suffer from include those related to the pancreas and adrenal glands. Some of the symptoms of adrenal gland disorder are enlarged vulva (females), urinary blockage (males), muscle atrophy, and hair loss.
On the other hand, pancreatic diseases are pancreatic tumors, insulinoma, and unusual levels of blood sugar. Symptoms of your ferret ailing from the pancreatic disease include seizures, nausea, and lethargy. Lymphoma is another common disease a ferret may suffer from. It is basically cancer in the lymph system.
Some major symptoms of lymphoma are lethargy, a problem with breathing, an enlarged spleen, and loss of weight. When these diseases are treated by a vet, your ferret can remain playful and happy. Their life expectancy will also go up. If your ferret has any digestive problem such as vomiting, loss, or weight gain, changes in its bowel routine can be serious.
The most appropriate way to make sure that your ferret does not ail from these health-related issues is to make sure that it lives in a clean environment. It means that the environment should be devoid of dangerous objects. Objects such as erasers, rubber chew toys, packaging peanuts, latex, plastic items, or rubber bands should not be kept close to the ferret.
All ferrets have to be vaccinated against Rabies Virus, CDV, or Canine Distemper Virus among others. They should be also given three CDV vaccinations at eight, eleven, and fourteen weeks and Rabies after a period of three months. Grown-up ferrets should be given annual boosters against Rabies and CDV.
Your Ferret’s first health check
Yearly checkups with one of the established ferret vets should be a must when you wish your ferret to be in good health. Your vet will try to address any congenital issues, treat, or detect diseases. They will also give the necessary vaccinations during the visit. A ferret needs distemper vaccinations at eight, eleven, and fourteen weeks while a Rabies vaccination should be administered when they are 12 weeks to 16 weeks old. A vet may also demonstrate how to clip the nails of your ferret. It is a task that you must perform regularly.
Some of the other activities one can expect while their ferret is being examined for the first time are as follows:
1. Medical records
These records are typically filed under the name of your pet. The pet owner’s name is also mentioned. It contains details such as:
i) Where you adopted or purchased the ferret from- Your vet may determine specific health risks based on where you made the purchase. When the ferret vets know its origin, they can ascertain which vaccinations or tests could be essential.
ii) Age of your ferret- If you are unaware of the history of your ferret, a vet can estimate what his age is for you.
iii) History of previous vaccination- In case you do not maintain your ferret’s complete health history, he/she might get a complete set of shots. Carry any shot records that were given to you when you purchased or adopted it.
iv) Behavioral problems if any- Ferret vets can offer suggestions on modifying any undesirable habits of your ferret. They may also ask you to consult any certified animal behaviorist.
V) His behavior pattern with other ferrets i.e. if you have any- It is not an easy task at all to include a new ferret when another ferret is already available in your household. Things can be tough for you when the two ferrets start rivaling each other. A vet could be able to give advice on how to encourage them to live cordially. He/she may even recommend a certified animal behaviorist.
2. Follow-up yearly checkups of your ferret
You should be ready to detect the following when you take your ferret for its yearly checkup:
i) Any recent health-related issues such as sneezing, coughing, or vomiting.
ii) Head shaking or scratching its eats- It could be a symptom of ear infections or ear mites.
iii) Problems related to the litter box- Your ferret could be suffering from bowel movements or urination problems. These could be a sign of serious ailments.
iv) Sudden weight loss or gain- Any drastic alteration in weight could be a symptom of different kinds of problems such as a severe medical issue.
v) Coat or skin changes- Your vet may ask whether the ferret’s coat is coarser or is thinning.
vi) Existing feeding protocol- You should be ready to inform your vet about the diet of your ferret. Make sure to tell him/her about changes in his drinking or eating habits if any.
vi) Exercise and activity levels- Ferrets are typically playful and energetic creatures. A good vet can provide handy tips on how to keep your pet mentally stimulated and fit.
It is not unusual to feel slightly apprehensive when you take your pet ferret to the vet. Being overwhelmed is natural when your vet recommends any specific treatment. To make sure that all key information is documented, ask the vet to repeat his advice. Alternatively, note down any care tips or diagnoses. Jot down any specific instructions or information, which is being given to you, such as:
1. Diet recommendations-Make sure to note down the recommended foods’ brand names and the amount to feed it. Your ferret should have a specific diet, which is rich in fat and protein. You should not offer cat or dog food for them. A vet may also come up with suggestions for healthy treats.
2. In case a ferret has to take medications, find out the frequency, quantity, and duration of the drugs.
3. Activities and exercises your ferret should stay away from.
4. When to visit the vet for a follow-up visit.
5. Make sure to maintain all shot records properly in a safe place.
Dental care for your ferret
Your ferret will have an inborn habit to explore the environment through feel, particularly using its teeth and mouth. A ferret is known to have extremely sharp teeth even when it is young. Biting is a part of playing for them. It is important to get the gums and teeth of your ferret examined annually by your vet. Anesthesia is required to prevent gum disease, as well as, tooth loss and remove plaque as part of a dental cleaning.
General anesthesia may be also needed for examining the mouth of a ferret thoroughly. Plaque buildup can be minimized by giving it dry ferret food and brushing its teeth. You should never use human toothpaste that contains fluoride to clean their teeth. Such kinds of toothpaste are not supposed to be swallowed by your pet and could even be toxic.
It is not easy to come across a vet who has extensive experience in treating ferrets. You can check online resources, local telephone directories, or ferret clubs for a recommendation. The search should be conducted even before purchasing a ferret or the occurrence of an illness. Vaccinations and an annual checkup are recommended for your pet ferret.