Because ferrets can be sensitive to their surroundings it is important to keep them in a nice, large and cozy cage. This article here can give you more information about that.
The domestic ferret or Mustela putorius furo is a mammal closely related to minks and these animals are very loved as pets by many people. The average length for these animals is of about 20 inches which makes them great pets because they don’t occupy much space. But even if they are such little cute creatures, you still bear the big responsibility to ensure your ferret is healthy and happy.
Basic things about ferrets
Like any other pet, ferrets have their particularities and when you want to buy or adopt one it is better to be informed about their lifestyle. They need to eat frequently since they have short digestive systems and quick metabolism. Their diet includes prepared dry foods consisting of a large percentage of meat. Ferrets are not able to digest plants so well because they lack a cecum, a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine.
Another thing to know about these animals is that they spend about 14-18 hours a day sleeping, being more active at dawn. If you want to own a ferret, you have to buy a wire cage that is at least 18 inches in length and depth, with a width of around 30 inches. This ensures good ventilation.
Ferrets are very social animals that keep a strong bond with their families so it is better for them to have a partner. They must be vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper (a virus that commonly affects dogs) since both are deadly and dangerous for humans. Ferrets are heat intolerant so it’s better not to leave them in hot cars or other such places.
These animals are full of life and joyful so exercise is very important to them. The need for burrowing and hunting can be replaced with toys like large cardboard mailing tubes, ping pong balls or cat toys that hang from strings. Toys provide a good way to have fun with your pet.
Frequent ferret health issues
If your ferret seems to be having trouble getting enough energy to move around, it could be sick so watch carefully over its behavior.
Having a ferret as a pet is a pleasure since they are clean animals and you can have a lot of fun with them but you also need to watch them closely and check for strange behaviors which could be an indication of some health problems. There are many ferret diseases that can strike quickly so you need to be sure to monitor your pet’s health with great care.
Ferrets can suffer from viral diseases, particular types of cancer, hairballs, dental problems, and allergies. They can also chew on and swallow foreign objects which can lead to bowel obstruction. Ferrets are known to become ill if they are not breeding so you have to keep in touch with a vet to help you with that aspect.
A particular problem is that vets are mainly specialized in treating common pets such as dogs and cats and before buying or adopting a ferret you must consider informing yourself about vets in your area that can treat ferrets too.
Causes of ferret allergies
Ferrets sniff a lot and inhale dirt, hair, and lint while doing so. They can only clear their throats with a reverse sneeze, which sounds terribly similar to choking or gagging. If an unusual increase is noticed in the frequency or intensity of coughing and sneezing, take your pet to the veterinarian.
Allergies are not the most frequent issue in ferrets’ cases but they can occur suddenly in some particular cases. There are many causes and contributing factors which may affect your ferret.
Some of them are not up to you to prevent but others can be avoided if your pet shows itself more sensitive. Your pet may have some allergic reactions depending on the season. Besides that, the case can become more complicated if the pet contacts human bacteria, fungi or viruses which can cause an infection.
Another contributing factor is the environment. The dust in the air, detergents or some types of scents like sprays can also have a major contribution to their allergic condition. You need to give some attention to your pet’s bedding or hammock. Make sure they are always clean and washed with unscented detergents.
Ferrets tend to roam around with their noses on the ground since they are small animals and it is very likely for them to be affected by the loose carpet fibers, human hair or carpet crumbs. Inhaling any type of pesky dust particle is a step further to triggering an allergic episode.
Some ferrets are irritated by the dusty clay litter which should be replaced as soon as possible if your animal shows signs of altered health condition.
Symptoms of allergies in ferrets
Ferrets’ allergies can be manifested by sneezing, gagging or runny noses. You can recognize the sneezing as an involuntary expulsion of air which is caused by irritation of the nostrils. Gagging is a reflex that occurs when the ferret is trying to remove the mucus from the upper respiratory tract.
You can also observe other symptoms like excessive coughing, dried discharge around the ferret’s nose and eyes, fever, nasal and ocular discharge. This discharge can have a transparent aspect or it can be accompanied by blood or pus.
In general, bilateral nasal discharge is a more precise sign of an allergy compared to unilateral discharge which can have as cause a dental issue like an abscess. It must be taken into account that sneezing, eye discharges, coughing, and issues with breathing can indicate more than allergies. It can mean that your ferret has caught the flu or another type of upper respiratory infection.
Treatment for allergies
If your ferret has more than 2 episodes of sneezing and other associated symptoms, you have to visit the vet. The first step is to exclude any other possible diseases such as cancer, infections and so on. It is important to find and treat the cause, not only the symptoms.
The treatment begins as soon as possible once other diagnostics are excluded. Antihistamine medication is the main choice for allergies and it is prescribed by vets. If your ferret has a cold, your vet may just ask you to watch it carefully until the symptoms disappear. During recovery, it is essential to keep your ferret’s nasal area clean and protected from harmful particles.
Allergies complicated with infections caused by bacteria need a concomitant administration of antibiotics besides the antihistamine medication. In the case of fungi infection, the vet will prescribe an antifungal medication.
There are several tests which can be run in order to discover the allergen that triggers your ferret’s reactions which can help you prevent future episodes. You can ask the vet about these for more information.
Protect your ferret from possible allergies
Always change its bedding to ensure your little animal has a clean environment and keep it away as much as possible from dust. Let the window open often to allow the fresh air to come into your home. You can also improve your ferret’s respiration by boiling some water in order to moisture the air and avoid a congested nose.
Vacuuming and brushing your ferret helps you reduce the loose hair or any other particles of dust and fibers. Covering your own sneezes is an important method of caution to protect your animal from getting in contact with your flora especially if your ferret is old and it has a weaker immune system.
Do not use dips, sprays, or collars for getting rid of fleas because they may contain strong allergens for your little pet. Deodorants and other room odors can have the same effects on your ferret. Watch your ferret closely daily, looking for any changes in its daily activity level and appetite.
Avoid letting your ferret come in contact with people who have caught the flu. Wear a facemask and wash your hands before handling the ferret if you are feeling ill.