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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


How to Treat Colds/ Flu:


 

QUESTION:
I've just seen your site on the web. I have two ferrets myself and the bigger one is sneezing and looks like she's shivering. I've had a bad cold myself which has lasted two weeks and the rest of the family has had it too. I wasn't sure whether to see how she goes or to take her to the vets. She also has been molting a little lately and not sure if this is anything to do with her having a cold or not.

 

ANSWER:

Do you think you may have had the flu, as ferrets do not get colds? Even so it would be best to do the salt treatments on her to make sure her airways are clear, as she will not eat if she cannot smell her food. Also providing her with soft food such as meat baby food would provide her with the needed protein that would be easy for her to eat and will be assimilated into her system much faster.


Take a bowl of very warm water and add a teaspoon of salt, once it has cooled a little take a soft cloth and soak in the salt water. Put the wet cloth over the ferret's nose and mouth so she has to breathe in the vapor. She will not like it too much, but do it several times, 2-3 times a day, it will help clear her nasal passages. Do NOT get in EYES! If she is no better, you should take her to the vet, she may need antibiotics if she has a secondary infection. Also brush all the loose hair from her several times a day and change her blankets, bedding, so the hair is not an irritant.

 


QUESTION:
I'm so glad I stumbled upon your address. Anyway I have two ferrets that I acquired they were part of the (pass around pet circle). My husband and I are stationed overseas in Japan...The one little girl Gizzy has a slight wetness around her eye I'm assuming she has a cold. The problem is there are no vets to take her to here. The base vets only see cats and dogs and all the local vets only speak Japanese and I don't. Is there anything that I can do for her to help her along? A home remedy of sorts?

 

ANSWER:

Ferrets do not get colds, but they do get the flu and can give it back to humans also, has someone had the flu? How old are the ferrets and are they current on their distemper shots? Perhaps Gizzy may have rubbed her eye on something, you do need to check to make sure there is nothing in the eye, do you have a magnifying glass to look at the eye?

 

For now you can steep a tea bag in hot water and then once it has cooled to warm, place the wet tea bag on the eye. Repeat several times by dipping bag back in the tea and then gently hold on the eye for a minute, or as long as you can.

 

There are many ferrets as pets in Japan and I am sure you will be able to find a vet who speaks English, if not try to find someone to translate. If the eye is damaged, or if you need any medical care for the ferrets it would be good to have a vet ready to take care of them.

 


QUESTION:
When I came home today Ernie's eye was matted shut. This is the second time I've noticed this. It is not swollen or oozing, but apparently there must be some discharge or it wouldn't be matting. I will have to take him to the vet. I just got him and he's sick already. I really like him. What would you do? Keep him. Do you think this is something minor?

 

ANSWER:
He probably has a little cold in his eye! Try washing it with warm water. Just take a cotton ball and dip in a bowl of warm water and clean the eye wiping from inside to outside, check to see if the eye is red inside or if you can see if there is any pus coming from the eyelid?

 

Soak a tea bag in hot water, once it has cooled to WARM, hold it on the ferrets eye, if there is any infection, then it will heal it, do it this evening then again in the morning, before you make a vet appointment Let me know if you need the name of a vet?

 

If the eye is scratched then he will need an antibiotic ointment, the vet will know by staining the eye, BUT before you spend any money do try the tea bag, it is a natural curative and will not hurt him. Please do not take him back, the eye problem is only a minor thing!!!

 


QUESTION:
I adopted Sidney when she was 6 months, that was 1 1/2 yrs ago. We have all had a bad cold/fever and Sidney is now sneezing like the dickens; she eats and drinks fine though. I do worry and wonder if Benadryl is safe at her age. Do you know for sure?

 

ANSWER:
Children's Benydryl is safe for ferrets. You can give .4cc twice a day, it will not hurt. However a more natural way to clear up the sneezing is by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in very warm water. Then soak a facecloth in the solution and after gently sqezzing it out, hold over both MOUTH and NOSE of your ferret, so she has to breathe in the vapors! The salt solution will clear the airways and debris, this way she will breathe better, will eat better and will heal faster.

 


QUESTION:
My little buddy bandit has been sneezing a lot. Could he have a cold and if he does can I do anything?

ANSWER:
First it is important to make sure that Bandit is eating and drinking, if he has a cold he may not be able to smell his food and sometimes this causes the ferret not to eat!

Check to make sure his nose is not blocked with mucus, if so, take a bowl of very warm water to which is added a teaspoon of salt and put a facecloth into it. Then gently squeeze it out and place it over the ferret's nose and mouth so he will have to breathe in the vapor, this will help clear the airways and help him to breathe, you will need to do this several times and at least 3 times a day!

Also you can give the ferret children's Benedryl, if you have a dropper give him .4cc(ml) that is almost half a dropper full, you can give it twice a day! If he feels hot or seems ill then I would advise you to take him to a vet asap. Ferrets go downhill very quickly and if he should have a fever or an infection of any kind he will need antibiotics.

If he is not eating, you will need to get him some GERBER'S CHICKEN/TURKEY BABYFOOD and feed him with the eyedropper (about 4 teaspoonfuls) and do that at least 3-4 times a day, until he starts eating his regular food. it is very important that he have fluids, so mix in some warm water with the babyfood.

He could also have an obstruction in the nose, so if he continues to sneeze, then you will need to consult a ferret knowledgeable vet.

 


QUESTION:
Our ferret has what the vet diagnosed as fever of unknown origin. He has flu like symptoms congestion, fever, coughing. The fever has dropped with antibiotic therapy. But he is still weak. I am feeding him duck soup and giving him water. Is there anything else I can do? How long does it take for a ferret to recover from the flu?

 

ANSWER:
I hope by now your ferret is feeling better? You are doing the right things for him and hopefully the antibiotics are curing the problem!

If it is a virus the antibiotic will not do a great deal but prevent a secondary infection. I would make sure his airways are clear so that he can breathe and smell his food. It is difficult for ferrets to eat when they are congested, sometimes a little 'children's Benedryl' will help to dry up some of the mucous.

Another way I clear my ferret' airways is by soaking a facecloth in a bowl of very warm water to which has been added a teaspoonful of salt, I squeeze out gently and then hold over the mouth and nose of the ferret so when he takes his next breath the vapor will penetrate into the sinuses and help clear them. You can do this 3-4 times a day and then he will be breathe much easier and will feel more like eating.

Also on my site is a product called PROCARE you can pour a few drops on a cloth and hang it on the outside of the cage where the ferret sleeps, it will help with breathing.

You did not say how old your ferret is and if anyone in the household has a cold or flu, therefore I would also be concerned about distemper which exhibits with the same symptoms!

 




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