HOW TO COPE WITH A SUSPECTED BLOCKAGE

The most frequent health related phone call I get is “I think my ferret ate something he shouldn’t” or “My ferret ate…… and passed it, will he be ok?”

This remedy deals with your ferret eating material or very soft vinyl.

So, you find the bedding with a chunk missing.   You pick up the toys at the end of the day and notice the toy mouse no longer has a tail.  You go to change the dirty litter box and you notice a very colorful poopie. *Later on in the week, you will be folding your underwear from the dyer and discover your ferret has sampled  several pairs-now you know where that rainbow colored poop came from”.

If your ferret is still eating and drinking and is NOT lethargic you have a window where you can apply these steps at home. If your ferret has had one mucky poop and the rest look normal he most likely has passed the chewed matrial. If your ferret is pooping long stringy lead pencil sized poops then most likely he has a partial blockage.

Ok, this is what you can do until you take your ferret to the vet. Give your ferret a 3 inch ribbon of cat hairball remedy; malt flavor.  This is something you should have in the house at all times if you have a ferret. This is a product you should be using weekly in a dime size portion to help your ferret pass any ingested fur.  Don’t have hairball remedy. Ok, a great substitute is plain old Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Hairball remedy is petroleum based with flavoring.

What will NOT work is using Ferretone or vegetable oil.  The petroleum jelly coat’s the item and makes it pass smoothly and gently.  The Ferretone will make it oily but not coat the item.

You will want to repeat the 3 inch ribbon about 4 hours later.  Meanwhile you will do the unthinkable unless you are a ferret owner.  You will pick up the ferret poop, place in your palm and gently run warm water on it to dissolve the poop.  You will extract the pieces of material and match them to the hole in the bedding/hammock/sock…

Once you have all the little pieces to fill the hole you are home free. When the ferret has a poop with no bits of material in it you can usually figure that he has passed everything.  The choice will then be up to you if you still want the ferret checked out by the vet.

CAVEAT: If you suspect your ferret as swallowed something hard like a piece off a plastic or rubber toy, then your ferret needs immediate attention from your vet.  You don’t want to push the hard plastic into the colon and rip something!

Hidden Dangers

Written by Mahri, EverythingFerret.com

Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent causes of premature ferret death is gastrointestinal blockage. You can protect your ferrets by keeping a close eye on what they like to chew on. Basically, ferrets like any type of foam rubber, soft rubber, couch stuffing, sponge and Styrofoam. Additionally, many ferrets also enjoy chewing on paper, plastic bags, cardboard and fabric. These will all cause gastrointestinal blockages if ingested.

Look for signs such as furniture stuffing on the floor, under beds or under other furniture. Make sure your ferrets are not digging holes under the couch and crawling inside. Keep all shoes with inserts out of the reach of your ferret. If your ferret is chewing his or her bedding, try a stronger fabric that won’t tear. Generally, keep an eye on your ferrets and be familiar with their favorite places to hide and which items in the house they are fixated on. This will help you come up with a ferret proofing plan that is right for your ferrets.

Ferrets actually enjoy the smell of bleach, bar soap and some other household cleaners. Be careful when you are cleaning the bathroom or kitchen. Always rinse bathtubs very well after cleaning them. Some ferrets (like mine) are able to climb into the tub by themselves. They enjoy licking the water droplets off the sides of the tub. A small amount of disinfecting cleaner or bleach could make your ferret ill.

Keep toilet lids down to keep your ferret from drinking out of the toilet (yes, I have a ferret that does this) . Again, toilet cleaners are toxic to ferrets. Ferrets could also drown in the toilet water. Store all cleaning supplies, medicine and bar soap in a ferret proof area.

Finally, to keep your ferret out of potentially unsafe rooms such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room you must construct a ferret barrier. Traditional pet and child proof gates will not work. Most ferrets can easily climb over these gates and can get strangled or stuck by trying to squeeze through the openings. Ferrets will try to get under the refrigerator (they can be seriously injured by the fan), under cabinets, in drawers, under the washer and dryer (they can get in the dryer if you leave the door open) and in any other small opening at ground level.

PLEASE CHECK THE DISHWASHER AND CLOTHES DRYER FOR YOUR FERRET(S) BEFORE STARTING IT. My veterinarian has told me horror stories about ferrets being killed in these appliances. Ferrets can also climb into high places such as the top shelf of a closet. Unfortunately, ferrets can get themselves into situations they can’t get out of and end up getting injured. Make sure you know where your ferret is at all times!

The best way to keep your ferret out of dangerous rooms is to make your own barrier or purchase a gate made especially for ferrets (these are constructed out of a solid sheet of plastic or Plexiglas). You can make your own barrier by measuring your doorway and purchasing a flat sheet of wood or Plexiglas that is at least three feet tall. Stiff cardboard may work as well. Just wedge the board in your doorway to keep the room blocked off.

Climbing over the barriers may seem like a pain, but it’s nothing compared to trying to find a ferret who has gotten trapped inside a wall, under the fridge or behind a cabinet! Keep your ferrets out of your furniture by nailing or tacking heavy material, card board, wood sheets or particle board on the bottom of the furniture. This keeps them from being able to dig through the soft fabric located under your furniture.

Keeping a close eye on your little buddies and setting limits for them will create a comfortable, safe home environment for you and your ferrets.