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How to choose your exotic animal?

The Ferret

28 July 2021

Ferret lovers will tell you, the more “fufu”, the more we laugh. They cost a little more to adopt and are mostly already sterilized. They are sold as vaccinated (only for distemper), but be aware that they need a vaccine booster 1 month after the first and vaccination for rabies is strongly recommended. But if the one month deadline is exceeded, the vaccination must be restarted from zero, which means planning 2 visits to the vet for his vaccines.

As for the space, they usually live in ferret condos, which is a huge multi-level cage, which is perfect. However, they also need to run and play daily for several hours. They therefore live in semi-freedom in the house. When going out, however, it is important to secure the environment, these little clowns snoop around and taste everything. Poisoning, falls and foreign bodies are not uncommon. These mishaps can endanger the survival of your little monsters and can generate significant veterinary costs.

In terms of cleanliness, they are generally clean, but sometimes they escape into a corner of the house when left loose. Plan absorbent mat papers in addition to the litter in the cage. Also they have a strong smell, even if they are deglanded. It’s about their body odor.

Feeding ferrets is relatively simple. They are strict carnivores, needing highly digestible food that is high in protein (30-35%) and high in fat (15-30%), so it is best to feed ferret kibbles. Raw food can cause infections (salmonella, campylobacter, etc.), cardiac abnormalities if the minerals are poorly balanced or even deficiencies in certain nutrients. Also avoid cat food which is not as well suited for our ferrets.

Ferrets are often picky about food, so make sure you always have extra kibble, as they can fast if you don’t have the food they like. Ferrets can therefore eat the same kibble all their lives without a problem.

The most important thing to know about ferrets before adoption

Ferrets, unfortunately, often develop diseases requiring extensive veterinary care. An annual check-up is recommended from 3-4 years old, plan to monitor blood sugar every 6 months with your veterinarian in order to try to diagnose insulinomas early. From the age of 3-4, also watch for signs of weakness and loss of fur density, which may be signs of adrenal or other diseases.

For young children, they can be “nibblers” and play a little too intensely, but for children ages 7 and up, they become adorable and energetic companions. They are easy to handle, much less jittery, but can scratch a bit. They are not too “fragile”, so it is possible to allow manipulation by children without too much worry.

Ferret lovers cannot do without ferrets in their life. A ferret has so much energy that it will keep you busy and entertained at all times. They are very cuddly and are irresistible when they drop into a deep sleep. They are social animals and love to live with others.

It is the exotic animal that has a lifestyle most similar to that of a cat.

Dr. Maude Gauthier-Bouchard,
B.Sc, DMV, IPSAV in exotic animal medicine.

Photo credits:
Brixiv on Pexels
Archibald Marajas on Pexels