Distemper - this is a highly contagious virus that is fatal in unvaccinated ferrets. Working ferrets are most at risk as they are going into the burrows of rabbits which are also frequented by foxes. The virus can also be passed on from dogs, but most dogs will be vaccinated against Distemper.
Classically an infected ferret will go off food and be lethargic. The skin around the chin and lips and around the pads all become thickened and crusted.
Prevention is by an annual vaccination. There are no vaccines licenced for ferrets in the UK but the Distemper part of the dog vaccine course can be used. This is given annually from 16 weeks of age.
Annual Health Check and Distemper Vaccine are £30
A ferret needs a diet high in good quality meat protein and fat, and relatively low in fibre. They also require a correct balance of vitamins and minerals to keep them in good condition and health.
Nowadays there are a number of kibble diets available which are well balanced for your ferret, and it is best to allow 24/7 access as most ferrets will only eat what they require.
Tasty treats such as cooked chicken and rabbit can be fed along with the kibble. But as with all good things these should be given in moderation.
Some ferreters will still feed raw meats. The main drawback with this is that ferrets often store their food and if it's warm the raw meat goes off and the ferret can get food poisoning and gastroenteritis.
Hobs can be neutered from 6-8 months of age. They have a definite smell and if left intact they can become more aggressive when the breeding season starts.
If it is intended that two intact hobs are to be kept together then the use of a GnRH implant should be considered as this will greatly suppress their seasonal behaviour.
Jills come into season each spring and STAY in season until mated. If allowed to remain in season they develop a form of anaemia through the suppression of bone marrow resulting in the decline of red blood cells and can become very ill and ultimately die.
To avoid this we advise either:
1/ A Jill Jab - an annual injection of hormone to supress the season. This is usually given around March. Due to the expense of the injection we usually try to get a few jills together on the same day and this usually reduces the cost to about £25 per jill.
2/Neutering - spaying can be done at any age from 8 months. But recent research has identified a possible link between neutering and Adrenal Disease in ferrets. To this end we would advise GnRH implants every 18-24 months ongoingly.
For any information regarding your ferret please contact Carla or Mel on 01896 752156.
You can also e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org