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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Itchy, Depressed Ferret:


 

QUESTION:
My Molly is such an itchy ferret, she always scratches all the time, its especially bad when she wakes up. Sometimes she scratches so violently, she falls off her shelf. She doesn't have fleas, and there is no dander on her and I only bathe her about every 2 months. I also started to use a spray to help moisturize her skin, nothing seems to help. The other thing is that we got another baby, her name is Cleo, she's about 3 months old, she's so beautiful, but my Molly hasn't been herself since we got her. She sleeps all the time now, and in places she never did before. She hasn't played much, and makes weird hissing screeching noises, but her appetite has been ok. We have had Molly for 5 months, and she's a complete mumma's girl, I've spoiled her way too much, she played with us, and rough housed alot which was awesome. I thought that a playmate would be good. Cleo is just a ball of energy, bouncing everywhere, I think she has springs in her feet..lol. I know this will most likely take some time for her to get used to the fact that there is another ferret in the house. I haven't been treating her any different than before, but I also don't want Cleo to feel left out. Any suggestions for either question? Thanks for the help.

ANSWER:
It sounds as if you love your ferrets very much and want the best for both of them. You neglected to say how old Molly is, although you have had her for 5 months, was she a baby when you got her!

From your description it appears that Molly may have some adrenal problems going on. Usually excessive scratching as you describe is the beginning of adrenal disease. Do you have a ferret knowledgeable vet who may be able to help you with a diagnosis? Adrenal disease will eventually manifest itself by loss of hair, starting at the rump and receding up the back. Also on top of the head, paws and belly! In a female the vulva sometimes swells. It is not too common in young ferrets though.

What kind of bedding and litter are you using, could be Molly has an allergy to something in her cage, let me know and I can tell you what might be the cause of her scratching. If you are using either PINE or CEDAR products then they cause not only skin problems but also respiratory problems, so you will need to remove those products right away.

Since Molly is sleeping more than usual and screeching as you say, she could also have INSULINOMA which is 'low blood sugar-hypoglycemia', this can be checked for by a simple 'blood glucose fasting of 4 hours' that your vet can do. Once again this is not a common ailment in young ferrets. It is the most common cancer in ferrets and can be treated very easily, so do not be alarmed as Molly can live a good life even if she is diagnosed with it now or later.

My suggestion is, get her to a vet and find out what physical problems she may be experiencing so that you can make sure she has nothing seriously wrong. Then you can worry about her and your new ferret getting along. If Molly is young then she is probably just screeching at Cleo because she is jealous, it will take time for her to get used to sharing YOU with another ferret. Try holding them both together and have them share time with YOU together, so they get used to sharing YOU!

 




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