Ferrets begin to show senior years or geriatric problems when they are about three years of age. Sometimes it is hard to believe that our ferrets are getting older at this age because of their playful nature. It is felt that this can be a good time to propose special home care as well as some additional veterinary care to try to capture disease problems early, so they can be removed or treated. With this “geriatric program”, as we call it, we’ve been able to increase life in many animals in a good manner.
The pads of the feet in older ferrets develop small horny growths and may become dry and hard. A small amount of Vitamin E treatment or Vaseline rubbed around the patches daily will help to keep them comfortable and remove excess tissue.
Older ferrets want to rest for longer periods, thus make certain they have a cozy position to take hang out in. Please respect that they need more rest and don’t wake them to play if they are tired. However, should you recognize a sudden change in sleep habits that seems unusual, please contract us.
The coat can become drier and much more brittle with age. Some diseases can give rise to this, but aging may also cause it. Don’t bathe your ferret often, as this worsens the condition and could strip the normal skin oils. Wash your ferret as infrequently that you can, but a maximum of once per month (until you have medical guidelines to accomplish otherwise,) and work with a gentle pet shampoo. You may also use specific preparations to add moisture back towards the skin, including emollient sprays (8 and 1 Ferretsheen is an excellent choice), right after or in between baths. Employing a fatty acid product, including Linatone or Ferretone, may also be beneficial. Use 1/8 tsp. per ferret per day around the food.
Older ferrets could have less control over their bladder and bowels because they age. So make certain that the cat litter box or reports can be accessible. Put out several extras newspapers for when they wander around in order that they won’t have an accident on the floor.
Older ferrets can become weak within the hind legs for a number of factors, so ensure that they can quickly enter and from their cages and litter boxes. Use ramps, if necessary to help them. Any quick or unusual weakness or loss in balance must, of course, be taken to our attention.
We generally recommend changing your ferret to your lower protein top quality adult cat food or maintenance diet following the age of five. This places less stress on the kidneys. The changeover may be steady several times by mixing the first kitten system with all the person system. If you are using the same make of food kits will often change.
Work with a cat hairball laxative at least once a week to stop the formation of hairballs in the stomach. Use about 1 inch from the tube. Cleaning your pet may also help lessen the quantity of hair swallowed.
Make sure that water and food are always available. Going without food for a long time may cause the beginning of serious symptoms if your puppy is dealing with a blood glucose disorder or kidney disease.
More regular checkups are suggested, including a comprehensive physical examination. We recommend this be achieved every six months. Kits develop disease swiftly; specifically cancer, kidney and heart disease, and waiting a complete year between trips can prevent supervision and the early detection of these conditions.
Starting at 3 years of age, we prefer some additional lab work be performed. On the healthy ferret, it is recommended to get a whole blood cell count (CBC) and fasting blood sugar as the minimal function-up (a ‘mini’ geriatric). Your pet must be fasted 4-to a maximum of 6 hours before the blood tests taken. The routine laboratory work should be performed at least one time per year.
We might also need to do additional lab work such as a body chemistry profile and/or an X-ray for extra information, particularly if your ferret is presenting signs of illness. Sleep might be essential for the X-ray. There are safe tranquilizers for ferrets; this reduces the strain the pet might experience with the procedures.
After the age of 7, analytical assessment may have to be performed every a few months along with a semiannual examination. These laboratory workups have already been IMPORTANT in finding several disease early and so facilitating treatment.
The older ferrets may get distemper in the same way quickly because the youngsters can.
Heartworm preventive should also be extended if you’re ferret stays outdoors or is taken outdoors frequently within summer and the spring.
Tartar might be cleaned off the teeth easily if the ferret is anesthetized with isoflurane for any reason. This prevents gum and teeth condition.
We estimate that above 75% of ferrets will develop some kind of cancer within their lifetime. The only path to beat all forms of cancer is by using appropriate treatment and early diagnosis; and EARLY recognition could be the key, which emphasizes the necessity for repeated tests and laboratory work.