Fuzzy Friends Ferret Farm

Life is a zoo. Take a look why...

RED FLAG SYMPTOMS: LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCIES
(LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

Animal Bites/deep puncture wounds

Clean affected area with hydrogen peroxide. Do not apply any ointment to an injury which penetrates the full skin thickness.

Bleeding

If possible, stop any serious bleeding by using direct pressure and a styptic pencil or powder.

Breathing, labored

Any sounds of harshness, fluid, or increased effort needed to inhale or exhale, panting or open-mouthed breathing.

Broken Bones

Manifested by inability to stand without pain, support weight normally, or move or walk normally. Ferret may vocalize, cry, or make some other unusual noise when picked up. There may be visible or internal swelling, with tenderness at the area affected.

Burns

Non-chemical: apply cool compress, then light application of antibiotic ointment or aloe vera gel.
Chemical: rinse with cool water, apply cool compress, followed by light application of antibiotic ointment or aloe vera gel.

Choking/Retching/Vomiting

Many different causes which include foreign body in esophagus, severe gastric ulcers, foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract which may be partially or completely causing an obstructing internal bleeding of respiratory system (i.e. lungs filling up with blood which the ferret Coughs up and swallows).

Convulsions

Try giving 2-3cc Karo syrup or honey only if ferret is able to swallow. Ensure that ferret cannot harm itself on hard, sharp or dangerous objects.

Dislocations

Swelling of any joint or limb, sometimes both. Restrict activity or immobilize in a towel until veterinary attention can be sought.

Drowning

Keep ferrets away from water! They can only swim for a few minutes before succumbing to exhaustion. The amount of chlorine normally present in pools can be extremely irritating to a ferret's eyes.

Ear Injuries

May range from bites and scrapes to avulsions (tearing off of tissue). Minor wounds may be cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied. Stop overt bleeding with direct pressure. Never insert a Q-Tip deep into the ear canal, as rupture of the eardrum may result.

Electric Cord Bite/shock

Burns of the lips and gums may be visible. Ferret may be lying on its side having difficulty breathing. The most common consequence of electric shock is pulmonary edema (fluid accumulating in the lungs).

Eye injuries

Can include scratches, perforating injuries, foreign bodies, chemical or contact corneal trauma. All are absolute medical emergencies.

Fainting or loss of balance

Manifested by the ferret collapsing or showing weakness that is generalized or confined to the hind limbs. Could be a cardiac or metabolic problem. Try giving 1-3cc of Karo syrup or honey, only if the ferret can swallow.

Frostbite/Hypothermia

Gently massage extremities and body. Keep the warming process gradual. Heating pads may be used if kept on "low" and the ferret is checked frequently. Bluish or black discoloration of the skin or limbs is very serious.

Head Injuries

If ferret is unconscious or bleeding from ears/nose/mouth, keep horizontal and immobilized. Keep movement to an absolute minimum, since cervical (neck) injuries often occur along with head injuries; too much movement may result in permanent injury or paralysis.

Heatstroke

Never leave a ferret in an enclosed area in the sun without adequate shade. Never leave a ferret in the car with the windows closed... even with them open, ferrets can overheat easily. Immediately wrap in a cool, wet wash cloth. Freshen with cool water every couple of minutes. Repeat procedure until ferret's body temperature is below 103 degrees.

Loss of Color of Gums and Nose

Gums and nose should be pink. Pale or white gums are a serious problem. May indicate internal bleeding or shock. Conversely, gums which are bright red are the sign of a serious problem such as toxemia (overwhelming systemic infection).

Nose, Face & Jaw Injuries/nosebleeds

If nosebleed is minor, apply direct pressure using gauze tissue, etc. nose, face and jaw fractures or injuries are serious, and handling should be kept to a minimum. Transport ferret to the vet wrapped in a towel.

Spinal or nerve injuries

Symptoms may include wobbly gait, tenderness, difficulty in breathing, or inability to move front legs, rear legs, or both.

Unconsciousness

If possible, take careful note so you can tell the vet whether ferret is breathing quickly or slowly, whether the pupils are dilated or very small, whether muscles are supple or stiff, and whether ferret is responsive to voices and/or touch.

Urination difficulties

Straining to urinate, inability to urinate, producing small amounts of urine, or abnormal color to urine. May indicate infection, bladder stones, or urinary tract blockage.

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By Ann Davis
ACME Ferret Company
and
Jean Wardell DVM

Copyright ACME Ferret Company,

First Edition, January 1996
Updated March 1996,
September 1996



ABNORMAL SYMPTOMS
REQUIRING
EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
BUT NOT LIFE THREATENING

Animal Bites/scratches

Clean affected area with hydrogen peroxide. Do not attempt to bandage area — ferret will not tolerate it. Apply antibiotic ointment. If not noticeably improved in one day, or if condition worsens, seek medical attention.

Constipation

Signs include, straining to defecate, vocalizing when trying to pass a bowel movement, scant, reduced ,or absent stool volume, thin, watery stools. Administer Laxatone or comparable furball medication every 4 hours for 3 to 4 doses. If no improvement noted see your vet.

Diarrhea

A green stool is an indication of increased rate of passage of feces through digestive tract. Is acceptable every once in a while. A green stool, or one that is bloody, mucoid, dark, sticky, has worms or foreign material is definitely abnormal. If diarrhea persists for over 24 hours, seek veterinary attention as serious dehydration is likely.

Drooling and or pawing frantically at mouth

Symptom of an insulin-secreting tumor of the pancreas or severe stomach ulcers. Signs may be indicative of an impending crisis. See Convulsions.

Hair Loss

Rat Tail, the loss of all the hair on the tail, is a common sign of stress in a ferret. When the stress is eliminated, the hair will return with the next fall coat.

Persistent hair loss, starting at the base of the tail and gradually moving up the back and over the entire body, may be a sign of adrenal carcinoma, a disease which is remedied by surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland. If left untreated this condition will eventually lead to death.

Insect Bite

Clean area with antiseptic solution. Follow with light application of antibiotic ointment.

Itchy skin

May be localized or generalized. The causes include dry skin, dry environment, allergies, parasites or metabolic problem. Try bathing with mild shampoo followed by cream rinse allowing adequate skin contact time. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If symptoms persist more than 48 hours see your vet.

Red blotches on the tummy and or hives

Most likely an acute hypersensitivity reaction to an allergen which has been contacted or inhaled. Litter material is often a culprit. Try a different brand of litter and giving the ferret a bath.

Sneezing

Usually occurs in clusters. Causes include dust allergies or cold. It is important to know that humans can transfer influenza virus to ferrets very easily. Therefore if you are exhibiting signs of a cold or the flu, use caution when handling and interacting with your ferret.

Sprains and strains

Reluctant to walk or bear weight or does so abnormally or with difficulty. Confine in a pet carrier or cage and restrict activity until medical attention can be sought.


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By Ann Davis
ACME Ferret Company
and
Jean Wardell DVM

Copyright ACME Ferret Company,
First Edition, January 1996
Updated March 1996,
September 1996


NUTRITION

Sound nutrition translates directly into good health! Ferrets are carnivorous animals, meaning they are strictly meat eaters. In addition, they are characterized by an extremely high metabolic rate. The food that they consume is burned and the nutritional components used very rapidly. Therefore, regardless of age, ferrets should have constant access to food. They eat about 10 small meals over 24 hours. Ingested food is eliminated in 4 hours.

Studies have shown that animal s offered a palatable diet will generally eat to fulfill energy needs. When these requirements are satisfied, regulatory mechanisms are activated which cause cessation of eating.

Highly palatable food can interfere with the normal function of these mechanisms. Obesity is an uncommon problem in ferrets owing to their high metabolic rates. Occasionally, however, a ferret can become pudgy, usually after 3 years of age. If your pet is developing this "middle-aged spread," try switching to a diet which contains a lower percentage of fat.

This leads directly into our discussion of fat and other nutritional requirements. It is important for ferrets to have a diet fairly high in animal fat (18-22% is recommended). It is also important for ferrets to have a diet high in MEAT protein such as chicken, beef, or liver. Fish based foods are not well tolerated or accepted by ferrets, and frequently result in vomiting.

Moreover, fish does not have the proper protein or amino acids needed. This is because animals don't need protein per se. Rather they need the amino acids used to build protein. Ferrets can only use amino acids from meat proteins; they cannot use amino acid from plant proteins. A meat (chicken, beef, or liver, for example) should be listed in the first 3 ingredients on a label to ensure it has enough protein.

Ferrets require 21 amino acids which are either manufactured metabolically or which are obtained from the digestion of food. This latter group is referred to as "essential amino acids"--the word "essential" here means that the amino acid must be obtained from the diet, as ferrets are unable to synthesize them.

When reading the label, make sure the protein level is at least 31 or 32%. One exception to this is with older ferrets, where a higher protein content (>38%) may be detrimental to the kidneys.

Many cat foods sold in grocery stores have cereal or plant proteins in their formulations and as such are not the best dietary choices. For ferrets under 3 to 4 years of age, the growth or kitten formulations of these diets are recommended, because of the higher fat and protein content. A mixture of the two is also acceptable, depending on environment, activity levels, etc.

For ferrets over 4 years of age, the maintenance or adult cat formulations of the aforementioned brands are suitable. These diets also contain adequate levels of Taurine, an amino acid which plays an integral part in good vision (retina health) and maintenance of cardiac function. With recent advances in nutrition , there are now diets such as "Totally Ferret" to meet their unique nutritional needs.

Another item to check on the label is ash content. Ferrets kept on diets relatively high in ash content have a predisposition to develop urinary tract problems such as bladder stones. The brands previously mentioned are all low in ash content.

I suggest avoiding diets that contain Ethoxyquin, a preservative. Evidence indicates it is possible this compound may increase the likelihood of certain types of cancers in dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Milk and dairy products should be avoided, including "milk coated" kitten foods. Diarrhea may result.

It is perfectly normal that we like to spoil our ferrets. Some treats in reasonable quantities are acceptable. Do not give anything with bone or bone fragments. Cooked meat and egg are suitable to offer. Many ferrets love fruits and vegetables, but these should be limited, since they cannot digest or process fiber well. Again, diarrhea may result.

A good rule of thumb is to limit any treat to one teaspoon per day. Some favorites include cucumbers, green peppers, bananas, raisins, dates, and melon.

Avoid feeding foods that are high in complex carbohydrates or refined sugar. Ferrets cannot digest a lot of sugar, and such treats put a strain on the pancreas. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can result in toxicity. We may think that candy is dandy, but resist the temptation to share, no matter how much they beg or how pleadingly cute they look!

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By Ann Davis
ACME Ferret Company
and
Jean Wardell DVM

Copyright ACME Ferret Company,
First Edition, January 1996
Updated March 1996,
September 1996


GREAT FERRET FOOD COMPARISON CHARTS

http://www.ferret-universe.com/care/food.asp

http://home.att.net/~ferretfriendsofpgh/foodchart.htm

Ferret Colors

Ferrets often change colors with the seasons, lighter in the winter than in the summer, and many of them lighten as they age, too. Different ferret organizations recognize different colors and patterns, but unless you're planning to enter your ferret in a show, the exact label isn't particularly important. Some of the more commonly accepted colors are described in general terms below, adapted from summaries written by William and Diane Killian of Zen and the Art of Ferrets and Pam Troutman of STAR*Ferrets.

The albino is white with red eyes and a pink nose. A dark-eyed white can have very light eyes and can possibly be confused with an albino. These can actually range from white to cream colored with the whiter the color the better. A dark-eyed white (often called a black-eyed white) is a ferret with white guard hairs but eyes darker than the red of an albino.

The sable has rich dark brown guard hairs with golden highlights, with a white to golden undercoat. A black sable has blue-black guard hairs with no golden or brownish cast, with a white to cream undercoat.

The chocolate is described as warm dark to milk chocolate brown with a white to golden or amber undercoat and highlights.

A cinnamon is a rich light reddish brown with a golden to white undercoat. This can also be used to describe a ferret with light, tan guard hairs with pinkish or reddish highlights. Straight tan is a champagne.

A silver starts out grey, or white with a few black hairs. The ferret may or may not have a mask. There is a tendency for the guard hair to lighten to white evenly over the body. As a ferret ages each progressive coat change has a higher percentage of white rather than dark guard hairs. Eventually the ferret could be all white.

White patches on the throat might be called throat stars, throat stripes, or bibs; white toes, mitts (sometimes called silver mitts), or stockings go progressively further up the legs. A blaze or badger has a white stripe on the top of the head, and a panda has a fully white head. A siamese has an even darker color on the legs and tail than usual and a V-shaped mask; and a self is nearly solid in color.






FERRET LINGO


ADV: Aleutian Disease Virus – a contagious parvovirus of ferrets that results in a weakened immune system and eventual death. Can be tested for, but not cured.
Albino: A white (or yellowish) ferret with transparent red eyes and no other markings.
Alpha Ferret: The dominant, or “lead” ferret in a business of ferrets.
Ankle Biter: A ferret wanting attention (or a treat or to be picked up) who asked nicely the first time.
Alter: A ferret who has been spayed or neutered. (See gib and sprite)
Belly Button: A way to determine gender on a ferret is to look for the “belly button” which indicates a male ferret.
Bib: White fur on the chin and throat of a ferret. Often associated with mitts.
Blaze: A ferret with a white stripe between the ears and down toward the nose. These ferrets may be deaf due to Waardenburg’s syndrome. Less commonly called badger or Shetland marking. (See panda)
Blown Coat: When ferrets shed their luxurious winter fur in the springtime, they “blow their coat” or have a “blown coat.”
Bomb: When a non-descented ferret gets frightened, angry or hurt, he may “blow a bomb” or just “bomb” with his anal scent glands. The effect is noticeable but temporary. (Also poof)
Bottlebrush: An excited or angry ferret will “poof” all the tail hair so it looks like a bottlebrush. (Also bushy-tailed)
Bugbite: When your ferret leaps awake from a deep sleep and immediately starts scratching an itch. This is normal behavior that doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of bugs!
Bulldog: A term used to describe the body style of ferret that is a heavily-built, with short, thick legs and neck, a blunt, broad face, wide chest, and a rolling sort of gait. (Also: husky; Related: whippet)
Bups: Hiccups brought on by excitement, often after a dance.                                               
Business: The correct name for a grouping of multiple ferrets.
Butt Wipe: When ferrets finish going to the bathroom, they will drag their rear end on the floor as a substitute for toilet paper. (Also butt drag, draggy butt, and in a speedy exit from the litter box drag racing)
Chomp: A meeting of ferret teeth and human skin, most often an invitation to play. Often preceded by licking, as in lick-lick-chomp. Correct this behavior by scruffing.
Cinnamon: A ferret with orange-colored guard hairs.
Color diluted: a ferret bred for specialty colorations or markings; color-diluted ferrets include cinnamons, DEWs, pandas, blazes, and other special varieties. Sables, siamese, albinos, and silvers are not considered color diluted.
Corner: Litterbox, from a ferret’s point of view, regardless of what is actually in the corner.
Cow Tipping: This silly urban legend says that renegade bands of roving ferrets can gang up on a sleeping cow and tip it over, then eat it. A possible cause of ferrets being illegal in some areas!
Couch Sharking: An ambush game where ferrets hide under the couch and wait for unsuspecting human victims to sit down, upon which the ferrets will attack the ankles.
Dance of Joy: A happy or excited ferret will bounce around with stiff legs, arched back, open mouth and swinging head. It is normal for ferrets to bounce into walls and off edges while doing this dance. Most often accompanied by dooking and bottlebrush tails. (Also war dance, weasel war dance, ferret fit)
Dash and Cache: When ferrets find a great treasure, grab it, and run off to put it in their hidey-hole. (Also dash and stash)
DEW: Dark-eyed-white (or BEW for Black-eyed-white) indicating a white ferret with dark eyes (not really black, but a deep, cranberry red).
Dook, dooking: The chuckle or chortle sound a ferret makes when excited, exploring, playing, or dancing. A dancing ferret is usually a dooking ferret.
Doughnut: A ferret sleeping in circle.
Duck Soup: Liquefied ferret food supplement usually hand-fed to sick ferrets. There are various recipes, all with high protein meats (usually turkey or chicken, not duck) and added vitamins. (Also woozlegoo)
Dud Stud: A vasectomized male ferret who is sterile, but capable of breeding. Used to bring female ferrets out of season.
ECE: Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis, a contagious ferret-specific virus that results in diarrhea, dehydration and malnutrition. Also known as the greenies or the green slime disease.
FFZ: Ferret Free Zone, or a place where ferrets have been declared illegal as pets because of city, county, or state ordinances.
Ferret: Also Carpet Shark, Carpet Monkey, Fert, Furrball, Furrit, Fur-Kid, Fur-Snake, Fuzzball, Fuzzbut, Fuzzy, Sofa Monster, Weasel and many, many others.
Ferretry: A place that houses businesses of ferrets or breeds them.
Ferreting: Hunting with trained ferrets, usually for rabbits or rats (generally illegal in the United States). Also looking for and finding something, as in “ferreting out the truth.”
Ferreter: A person who manages crews of hunting ferrets. (Also ferretmeister, ferret warden)
Ferret Fishing: An interactive human sport where humans tie a ferret toy to the end of a pole, string, or elastic line, and reel in the ferrets! A favorite game.
Ferret Juggling: The act of having to carry, hold, restrain or control multiple ferrets to keep them from going where you don’t want. (Related: portal ambush)
Ferret Math: A situation (not unlike eating just one more potato chip) that arises wherein the number of ferrets in your household keeps increasing – you just can’t help it!
Ferret Proofing: A never-ending process of trying to keep your household safe from the inquisitive little critters! FLO agents are usually one step ahead of human ferret-proofing efforts, though.
Ferret Slippers: When a human being attempts to walk with multiple ferrets attached to their feet. (See also toe biter, ankle biter). Also a ferret who speedbumps over your foot to get attention.
Fitch: European ferrets bred for fur.
FLO: Ferret Liberation Organization, or an underground ferret group who seems to communicate via ESP or even online. These ferret agents devise mischief and methods of befuddling their humans.
Gib: A male ferret who has been neutered and is unable to breed.
The Good Stuff: Delectable yummies rationed out in too-tiny portions by humans, such as raisins and other treats.
Gravity: A word that is not in your ferret’s vocabulary.
Hidey Hole: The special hiding place of stolen ferret special items. Usually inaccessible by humans. (See dash and cache. Also treasure trove and goodie bin).
Hit Rate: A term used to indicate how well a ferret uses a litterbox or other designated potty area. Ferrets with over an 80% hit rate are considered wonderful!
Hob: A male ferret who is “whole” or unaltered and able to breed. (Also buck outside the U.S.)
Hooman Bean: What ferrets are owners of, or tall bipeds with sensitive skin.
Hug and Scoot: A way for ferrets to transport (or play with) objects (typically round). The ferret grabs the object with front paws, hugs it, pushes it down under the belly, and then scoots backwards. Wild ferret cousins transport whole eggs in this manner. (Also scootch)
Jill: A female ferret who is “whole” or unaltered and able to breed. (Also doe outside the U.S.)
Kit: A baby ferret.
Lick, Licker, Lick-Lick-Chomp: Ferrets lick as a sign of affection, because you taste good, or as a prelude to a chomp.
Mitts: white feet or toes on some ferrets (often accompanied by white knee spots and a bib).
Nip and Run: When a ferret races up to you, mouths you on the shin, and dashes off as an enticement for you to play. (Also driveby)
NONOBADFERRET: A pointless cry of a hooman bean in the process of watching FLO agents in action.
Panda: a ferret with a mostly white face – an overgrown blaze marking.
The Place: Anywhere that is not home, such as a veterinary office, park, or show hall.
Points: the darker colored parts of a ferret – the tail, feet, and sometimes nose. Also, what can be earned in a championship ferret show.
Portal Ambush: When a business of ferrets gather around the base of a door that a human wishes to open and race through as soon as the opportunity arises. This forces the human to employ ferret juggling skills.
Poof: Either an undescented ferret causing a stink (see bomb), or an excited ferret making all fur stand on end (see bottlebrush).
Rainbow Bridge: When ferrets die, they go to the Rainbow Bridge, which is just this side of heaven. They wait for you until you can cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
Rescue: A ferret who has been picked up by a ferret shelter and is available for adoption.
Sable: The foundation color of ferret – brown guard hairs over a cream-colored undercoat, dark mask, and somewhat darker points.
Scruffing: Holding a ferret by the loose skin on the back of the neck, as a mother would carry her kits. This relaxes and calms down a ferret (they will often yawn).
Shiver: The shaking motion a ferret makes when just waking up or being excited about something. Does not usually denote fear; most often a way to regulate body temperature.
Siamese:  A sable ferret with very dark points.
Silver: A ferret with a salt-and-pepper fur coloration.
Snorkeling: Some ferrets want to drink water by immersing their entire head and blowing bubbles (sometimes scuba diving). Other ferrets prefer to dry-snorkel by nosing under carpets, bath mats, or any other fabric on the floor.
Speedbump: When a ferret suddenly lies prostate on the floor (usually accompanied by a deep sigh). This may occur in the middle of playing, which will usually resume after a short session of speedbumping. (Also flat ferret, ferret flop, pancaking)
Sprite: A female ferret who has been spayed and is unable to breed.
Toe Biter: A ferret wanting to entice their human to play (or do the human war dance, which ferrets find hysterically funny).
Waardenburg’s syndrome: A genetic defect found in humans, cats, dogs, mice, and ferrets that results in a white streak of hair, and sometimes results in hearing problems.
Water Weasel: A ferret who enjoys snorkeling, or one who must accompany you out of the shower to lick your feet and any puddles on the floor.
Weasel War Dance: See dance of joy
Whippet: A term used to describe the body style of ferret that is lean, lanky, fineboned and with a tendency toward a pointier nose. (Related: bulldog)
Whole: A whole ferret has not been altered and can breed.
Zipper: The center “line” down the middle of a ferret’s stomach, either caused by fur meeting at the ventral line, or the scar left from surgery.

Cool Links

{I love links...}

The Original 'Rainbow Bridge' site...
http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm     

Great food comparison charts...
http://www.ferret-universe.com/care/food.asp
http://home.att.net/~ferretfriendsofpgh/foodchart.htm

Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
http://aemv.org/aemvjournal.cfm  

Great Ferret color guides:
http://www.geocities.com/pa2g/fcn1.html
http://www.ferret.org/events/colors/colorchart.shtm   

Ferret videos
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ferret&search=Search

Wood pellet bedding {the one we use}
http://www.guardianhorsebedding.com/pinepellets.htm

Wood stove pellet list of manufactures
http://www.woodandcoal.com/pelletfuelusa.htm

Great Ferret News and Articles:
http://www.ferretsmagazine.com/ferrets/home.aspx
http://www.ferretlife.com/home/

Great People with Great sites:
http://www.ferret-universe.com/index.html
http://www.fathernaturesferretrescue.com/main/index.htmlm
http://www.freewebs.com/kitscrittersferrets/

The Ferret Bill of Rights:
http://www.msnusers.com/ferret/yourwebpage15.msnw

Ferret fun games and antics:
http://www.extremeweezils.com/fertfun2.html

ZuPreem Ferret Food:
http://www.zupreem.com/animal/ferret/ferowners.shtml

Innova Evo Ferret Food:
http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1502

Natural Gold Ferret Food:
http://prettybird.com.ashopcart.com/catalogue.php?exp=28|&cat=42

8 n 1 Ultimate Crunch Ferret Food:
http://www.eightinonepet.com/products.php?display=89&main=31

Wysong Ferret Food:
http://www.wysong.net/

EXCELLENT Info sites:
http://www.weaselwords.com/
http://www.cypresskeep.com/ferretarticles.htm

Link to Link Ferret sites:
http://www.petexpo.com/farrets.html

SUPER SITE, LOTS OF GOOD INFO:
http://www.peteducation.com/index.cfm?cls=11





The song is "Moments in Love" by Art of Noise