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Saving lives since 2011

Care of Ferrets

 No.  If your ferret was to escape or be set free, it would likely not even survive 24 hours.  The domestic ferret has no history of ever being in the wild and thus lacks the instinct and intelligence to survive.  A common mistake is believing the domestic ferret is the same as its distant cousin, the Black Footed Ferret, which is not true.  A domesticated ferret would not be able to catch prey, evade predators, or even find adequate shelter to survive.  Without 100% assistance from humans, a ferret is completely helpless.  So always be extra careful with external doors and windows! Remember that any domesticated animal would be at long odds to survive in the wild.  Your ferret is no exception.  

TIP - It's also a good idea to find a squeaky toy that your ferret reacts and comes to handy.  That way in an escape emergency, the squeeky toy might be your only hope to find your beloved ferret.

The short answer is no.  Ferrets are strict carnivores and the ferret community has long believed maintainingn a strict diet made up of protein rich meats is the key to a long lasting and active life in ferrets.  When choosing a diet for your ferret(s), always read the ingredients of any kibble or raw food.  Be sure to choose one that is high in chicken or other meat, and is low in additives such as corn or other vegetables.  Treats should be given infrequently.  There are many great articles on the internet on ferret diet if you would like to read more.  Suggestions:

https://www.lovethatpet.com/small-pets/ferrets/foods-bad-for-ferrets/

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=479

Bathing your ferret is only recommended when they are so incredibly filthy that a bath is absolutely necessary. Covered in tar being a good example of absolutely necessary. The reason for this is that ferrets secrete an oil all over their body to hydrate their skin and keep it healthy. When you bathe a ferret, this naturally occurring oil is washed away and the body then kicks up production. If you wash your ferret too often, the oil production goes into overdrive causing the musky odor normally associated with ferrets to become much stronger.

To understand this disease you must first understand a few terms:

  • Glucose(blood sugar), as referred to here is the simple sugar in the blood
  • Islet Cells are clusters of cells on the pancreas which produce a hormone called glucagon
  • Glucagon is the hormone which raises the level of sugar in the blood
  • Insulin is the hormone that lowers that amount of sugar or glucose in the blood

In a healthy ferret or person the blood sugar increases whenever we eat, which informs the body to release more insulin. This balances the blood sugar and insulin within the body. When a ferret has Insulinoma, they develop Islet cell tumors also referred to as Insulinoma;s on the pancreas which continually produce insulin. As a result the blood sugar drops, which can become dangerously low causing lethargy (lack of energy), seizures, even death.

Less commonly known facts

  • The symptoms of insulinoma mimic the symptoms of diabetes (which can be thought of as the opposite of Insulinoma)
  • Insulinomas or Islet tumors may or may not be cancerous
  • The size of the tumor does determine its chance of malignancy
  • Mild insulinoma may be controlled with frequent feedings and a high protein diet
  • There is no science that says a certain blood sugar number means that your ferret will have seizures
  • Insulinoma in ferrets should not always be treated surgically
  • Seizures do not always present with same symptoms in all ferrets
  • Ferrets can get Diabetes (frequently after having anesthetic)

Symptoms

  • Panting
  • Starring
  • Laying with neck curved backwards
  • Drooling
  • Screeching
  • Repeated yawning
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Red pads, nose and gums
  • Clenched teeth

Treatments

  • Dietary - frequent feeding of high protein
  • Steroids
  • Diazoxide
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