The Domestic Ferret
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What is the family of ferrets?
What is the scientific name for ferrets?
Mustela putorius furo
Where were ferrets initially from and what were they used for?
- used to kill rodents that lived in holes
What are the original two colors of ferrets?
What happens to the albino ferret's coat and why?
turns yellow due to the sebaceous glands
What is the most endangered mammal in the United States?
black footed ferret
What is the male ferret called?
What is the female ferret called?
What is a baby ferret called?
What kind of penis does a male ferret have?
- "canid" penis
- "felid" scrotum
What kind of vulva does a female ferret have?
Which is larger, a male ferret or a female ferret?
What is the life span of a ferret? When are they considered a geriatric?
- 5 - 9 years
- geriatric at 4 years
Do ferrets have enlarged anal sacs?
What do ferrets do when they are hot?
- no sweat glands
- salivate if hot
What kind of food do you feed a ferret?
ferret food or high quality cat food
When do ferrets sleep?
naturally nocturnal, but can adjust to a different sleeping schedule
Are ferrets allowed in all states?
What vaccine do ferrets get?
- canine distemper but use a ferret approved one
What is the rule about a ferret who is vaccinated for rabies, but bites someone?
if a ferret is vaccinated for rabies and has never gotten out of the house and bites someone then they are quarantined just like a dog but if they are vaccinated for rabies, but gets loose and the owner doesn't know where is has gone and then bites someone then it will be euthanized and tested for rabies
Where can we collect blood in a ferret?
- cephalic and saphenous veins
- jugular vein (hard to due because of the tough skin around the neck)
- anterior vena cava
- ventral tail vein close to the body
What is a normal PCV for a ferret?
What is the normal WBC count for a ferret?
4,000 - 19,000/ul
Describe a ferrets reproductive cycle.
- seasonally polyestrous
- march to august
- long day breeders
How can an unspayed female be a problem?
a female will continuously cycle until they are bred which causes their estrogen to increase. a ferret's bone marrow is sensitive to estrogen stimulation and can cause anemia
What does a female ferret look like in heat?
- vulva enlarges and decreases 2-3 weeks after ovulation
- no vaginal discharge
How long is the gestation for a ferret?
Is pseudopregnancy common in ferrets?
How many are in a ferret's litter?
average 8 young
When do we wean ferrets?
at 3 weeks
When do ferrets open up their eyes?
3 - 4 weeks
When do ferrets return to estrus after giving birth?
6-8 weeks post partum
Which canine distemper is approved in ferrets?
Is rabies common in ferrets?
no it is rare
Why is it a problem to give ferrets the canine distemper?
because the canine distemper is a modified live virus and can cause a ferret to get sick
Which illness can ferret's get from humans?
- human influenza
- resembles distemper
What gastrointestinal diseases is common in ferrets?
- proliferative colitis
- helicobacter mustelae
What are the clinical signs of helicobacter mustelae?
- gastritis with ulcers/colic
What is green slime disease?
epizootix coronavirus enteritis in ferrets
What kind of heart problems do ferrets get?
- heartworm disease
What type of cardiomyopathy do ferrets get? How do we treat it?
- dilatative and hypertrophic
- treat as in cats
Why are occult heartworm tests unreliable?
because you need at least 3 heartworms for it to be a positive test and if a ferret had that many heartworms then it would be dead
How do we diagnose heartworms in ferrets?
- use preventative medications in problem areas
What are the parasitic illnesses that are the most common in ferrets?
- sarcoptic mange
- ear mites
What area does sarcoptic mange affect in ferrets? How do we treat it?
- may affect only feet
- treat as in cats
What endocrinopathies affect ferrets?
What is another term for hyperadrenocorticism?
What are the clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets?
- may only see alopecia
- or enlarged vulva in spayed females due to elevated estrogen
How do we diagnose hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets?
diagnose by ultrasound or surgery
What are the clinical signs of insulinoma in ferrets?
How do we treat insulinomas in ferrets?
- may remove nodule in pancreas or treat with meds
- ultimately fatal
What are the most common neoplasias in ferrets (other than insulinomas)?
- mast cell tumors on skin
What are the clinical signs of lymphosarcoma in ferrets?
vague signs (weight loss and/or dyspnea)
Which lymph nodes are affected in lymphosarcoma in ferrets?
usually only internal nodes
How happens if a ferret has a prolonged estrus cycle?
anemia in females
How long does it take for a ferret to become anemic when they have a prolonged estrus cycle?
1 - 2 months
How do we treat anemia caused by a prolonged estrus cycle in ferrets?
OVH or drugs
How do we know if an enlarged spleen in ferrets is a problem?
- do a cytology and if there are small lymphocytes and plasma cells than it is just hyperplasia
- if there are large lymphocytes then it could be lymphoma
- if there are unrecognizable cells than it could be metastasis from another site
Is chronic nephritis common in ferrets?
yes, in older ferrets
What do the kidneys look like in chronic nephritis of ferrets?
kidneys are firm, shrunken, and irregular
What are some other common medical problems in ferrets?
- IV disk disease
- aleutian disease
- eosinophilic gastroenteritis
- dental disease
- gastric foreign bodies
What are some common surgical procedures for ferrets?
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