Ferrets

Preventative Medicine

We feel that preventative medicine is very important in ferrets and recommend yearly exams for youngsters and biannual exams for older ferrets (4 years or older).  At VCA East Mill Plain Animal Hospital we offer ferret specific vaccinations for rabies and canine distemper virus.  Ferrets are sensitive species, and have been known to have allergic reactions to vaccines.  Because of this, a dose of benadryl is given prior to your ferret's vaccine and two vaccines are typically not given in the same day. 

Dental Disease

Did you know that your ferret's closest relative in the wild is the European polecat?  Ironically enough not much has changed in the size, behavior, and dentition during the domestication of the modern day ferret.  Because polecats and ferrets are obligate carnivores (meaning they only eat meat), feeding commercial high quality ferret or feline diets are appropriate for their nutritional needs, yet can cause dental disease not seen in the wild due to the polecat's strictly meat diet.    Dry kibble is hard and crunchy, which is abrasive to ferret teeth and can cause abnormal wear, especially to the molars.  As with any species, as ferrets get older, they develop tartar and gingivitis.  Our goal is to prevent dental disease by performing routine, yearly, dental work on pet ferrets.  During this procedure, your ferret's entire mouth will be assessed for dental disease, fractured or broken teeth, and gingivitis.  Routine cleanings include scaling of the teeth, polishing, and fluoride treatment. 

FUN FERRET DENTAL FACTS:

  • Ferrets have 28 to 30 baby (deciduous) teeth
  • Ferrets lose their baby teeth between 7-11 weeks
  • Ferrets have 34 adult (permenant) teeth
  • The largest tooth is the fourth upper premolar, also known as the carnassial tooth that in the polecat is primarily used to rip and tear meat

Ferret Endocrine Disease

Unfortunately as ferret's get older, they are prone to the development of endocrine (glandular) disease.  The two most common diseases seen in ferrets are insulinoma and adrenocortical disease.  Our veterinarians are highly trained in diagnosing these diseases, and providing treatment, such as surgical removal and placing deslorelin implants. 

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