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|DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet, breeder, or anything other than a ferret enthusiast. This information isn't intended as professional medical advice. For any medical issues requiring treatment, please contact a vet!|
|Laying the groundwork|
|In the first 4 months of a ferret's life, they need to have some "body work" done.
VACCINES: Ferrets need two vaccines to be healthy. The canine distemper vaccination is given first at 8 weeks old, then again at 11 and 14 weeks. Yearly boosters will be needed after that. Second, as with most household pets, they need a rabies vaccine. Imrab-3 is the only rabies vaccine approved for use
|Page 1: Preparation, Needs
Page 2: Behavior, Training
Page 3: Medical Concerns
|with ferrets, and it is administered around 14 weeks old. Ferrets don't need feline distemper, feline leukemia, or canine 5-way vaccines.
As with all vaccines, there is a slight risk of reaction. This normally occurs within a matter of hours, up to a day after the shot. A good vet will ask to keep your ferret at their office for an hour after the vaccine, just to make sure there's no adverse reaction.
SURGERY: By surgery, I mean neutering or spaying a ferret. It's extremely important to spay female ferrets who are not going to be used for breeding. Once a female goes into heat, she must be mated, or else her urogenital tract will swell, causing a real threat of toxic shock and death. However, this concern is usually taken care of long before anyone gets their pet ferret, as most breeders spay/neuter their ferrets before selling them. An unfixed ferret which will not be bred should be fixed by 8-10 weeks of age.
Along with spaying/neutering, many breeders de-scent their ferrets. This procedure involved removing the anal sacs that secrete musk, thereby reducing the trademark "ferret smell." There's lot of debate on this one - there's no real health impact, good or bad, so the main issue is the owner's tolerance. Some ferret owners want their pets au naturel, others want them less on the stinky side. A ferret who isn't de-scented will occasionally emit a strong whiff of musk if excited or startled, and it can be pretty pungent.
|One surgery to never consider is de-clawing. IT'S NOT HEALTHY TO DE-CLAW A FERRET. Their physiology is not the same as a cat, and de-clawing is painful and possibly debilitating for ferrets. Any vet who suggests it, or will perform it, should not be entrusted with the care of these animals.|