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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Not Eating:


 

QUESTION:

A friend of mine called today and asked me to go see her ferret. She's had her for 4 months I think she said... she's still a baby. When she got her, she was nice and fat, like they should be... then for apparently no reason, she started losing weight... she had still been acting normal up until today. Her ferret can't walk across the room without have to take a break every 2 ferret lengths she walks. She just curls up wherever she is. She's tried feeding her Gerber baby food and everything your web site says, but she just won't eat. My friend said that when she does try to eat, she grinds her teeth together like she's having a hard time chewing. She's so skinny all of her bones are very easy to feel, and visible.

 

I told her not to have much hope for her, and she should probably have her put down if she's still like this in a couple of days. She can't afford to have her checked out, and I know she is suffering. Any idea what could be wrong?

 

ANSWER:
For a baby to lose weight and grind her teeth sounds as if she has a blockage! Could she have eaten any rubber objects, or cloth, if so she is in terrible pain and it would be best to get her to a vet immediately. Tell your friend the kindest thing to do is to take her to a ferret knowledgeable vet, the the cost of an exam is minimal and if the future is bleak, then euthanasia would be best, it will not cost that much and she can make arrangements, borrow the money, but PLEASE do not let her suffer any longer, that is cruel.

 


QUESTION:
My ferret, Peanut, has quit eating, going on about 7 days now. I have been making him eat and he is drinking good on his own. He is losing weight and walks over to the pan of food, just looks at it, smells it and walks away. Sometimes, he will pi ck up a piece and eat it and will eat a treats from time to time. He even did not want his furotone for a while but accepts it some now. The rest of my fuzzies are fine and have no trouble with the food. I give them a variety of kitten foods so that they don't get bored with it. Also, I just got a new baby ferret. Could this be a problem too? Peanut's poop was runny for a day or two but is normal since I have been making him eat. I give him 3 syringes full of IAMS kitten (can) food through a 10ML syringe 3-4 times a day. Is this enough or should I give him more or less? He also acts like his back legs are weak when I first get him up. Please help. I am at my wits end on this. The next step is the vet.

 

ANSWER:
The baby ferret could have brought with him something that Peanut might have picked up, such as a bacteria or worms, either would give him diarrhea and would make Peanut sick, but the baby most likely has got over it.

Since none of your other ferrets are sick I would suggest that you take Peanut to the vet as soon as you can, because he may need a blood test and a stool sample taken, to see if he needs antibiotics or some other medication to make him well!

You did not say how old he is, but the weakness in the legs could be due to having low blood sugar, which is very common in ferrets and your vet would need to take a 'fasting blood glucose' test to see if this is the problem.

Meanwhile he needs to be fed at least 20-25ccs of food at least 4 times a day until he starts to eat again. I would also recommend that you buy him some Gerber's CHICKEN or TURKEY BABYFOOD and mix with the IAMS, half and half, feed him it warm and make sure he is drinking (do not let him get dehydrated) if not add more water with the food.

Will he eat from a bowl, as you need to be very careful that you do not get any food in his lungs, as he will get pneumonia. If you have to feed him with a syringe just dribble the food over his teeth so he swallows on his own, do NOT force him to eat.

 


QUESTION:
I got a ferret back in September 02 he has been so much fun I love him so much he has became I new part of are family. Here lately we have noticed that he has not been eating allot we changed his food cause we thought he may just no like the taste of that kind but he still will not eat. Is there any thing that you know of that could be wrong with him?

 

ANSWER:
What food were you feeding him and what did you change it to and how long ago? Is he eating some of the food, because he has to eat and if he isn't, you will need to get him to a vet as soon as possible?

When changing a ferret's food you must introduce the new food slowly, put some of the old on one side of the dish and some of the new on the other side. Each day or so you can add a little more of the new food, once he starts to eat it, then in time you will be giving him all new food. If you do this it will prevent stomach upsets.

The first thing that comes to mind, when you say he is not eating, is a 'blockage in his stomach or intestines. Has he been vomiting, are his poops still normal. Another thing could be a bacterial infection or some kind of parasite, does he have diarrhea?

Usually ferrets do not go off their food unless the food is bad, do you think you might have had it too long and it was no longer fresh? Do you leave food out for him all the time and do you give him fresh food daily, throwing away what he does not eat?

The food will go 'rancid' and make him sick if left for a few days, so make sure you change it every day or do not leave it longer than 2 days!

 




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