Ferrets are really interesting and unusual animals that we see occasionally as vets at Pittwater Animal Hospital.
Our veterinarian with a special interest in exotic pets is Dr Juliet Smithyman.
What is the best way to monitor my ferrets heath?
Weigh, weigh AND WEIGH.
When you are looking after a small mammal it is very difficult to tell if they are unwell.
Most ferrets weigh somewhere between 500 grams and 2 kilograms. If you weigh your ferret regularly and the weight drops, you should be concerned about it’s heath.
Does my ferret need regular vaccinations?
Do my ferrets need to be desexed?
It is best to desex your ferret at about 4 months old. Male ferrets are best desexed to decrease the smell. Female ferrets are best desexed to prevent prolonged oestrus which can be debilitating. The alternative to desexing is to have regular long-acting suprelorin® injections.
Desexing needs to be discussed before 6 months of age.
Do you remove scent glands in ferrets?
Scent gland removal is now discouraged. Ferrets do smell, especially male entire ferrets. Changing bedding regularly and wiping your ferret regularly with a wet washer, can decrease the smell.
Most ferrets do not express their scent glands unless frightened or stressed. If this does happen, wiping around the anus will decrease the smell.
What should my ferret eat?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores who need a high protein diet. If it is not possible to find dedicated ferret food they can be fed on high quality kitten dry food, (either Hills® or Royal canin®).
Frozen mice are also available, but please feed them thawed not frozen.
My ferret likes to eat small small objects - is this a problem?
One of our most common ferret problems is intestinal foreign body. Ferrets love to eat small bits of foam such as ear plugs, packing material and toys.
If you own a ferret please be very careful to exclude any object especially something soft and squishy that your pet may want to eat.
Does it cost less to have my ferret examined at the vet?
Ferret diagnosis and handling is a complex and skilled veterinary area. Often ferret consultations are prolonged, as gentle patient handling is required and extensive history is needed.
To see a veterinarian at Pittwater Animal Hospital a standard consultation fee is charged. Rechecks are often discounted.
Some complex problems are best addressed by a veterinary specialist. For urgent care it is best to have your ferret initially assessed by one of our veterinarians. It can be difficult to get a specialist appointment immediately, and early intervention is often needed.
Dr Izidora Sladakovic (Izzy) up at NVS at Terrey Hills is our closest exotic pet specialist.