Your ferret’s Medications!

Over the years, I have taken shelter ferrets to the vet for a variety of issues. I am very happy when I come home with banana flavoured Amoxicillin; even better if the ferret received an antibiotic injection of Convena. I’m crying inside if I have to give the poor ferret Metronizodole.

The Amoxicillin dispensing label will state Refrigerate. Easy Peasy! But there are so many other medications prescribed for our ferret that come in little dark brown bottles. We know that the dark brown bottle is because the medication is light sensitive. Got it! The label states the dosage, perhaps the label will say Shake before use or give with food. All good!

Where do we store the medication? Well, somehow most of us over 30 have grown up with the universal knowledge that to keep anything “fresh”, you store it in the fridge!! This mind set carries over to medications especially since the odd medication states right on the label, highlighted in yellow, REFRIGERATE.

Turns out most of us have been wrong, wrong, wrong when it comes to medications for ourselves, and our pets. A recent event brought the issue to the forefront. A foster parent accidently put the fostered ferret’s Prednisolone in the freezer along with the home made duck soupies. A phone call to our pharmacist confirmed what I already suspected. The Prednisolone was spoiled. That was a $25.00 Owie! The pharmacist went on to explain that Prednisolone should be kept away from light, in a cool, dark place. I nodded sagely and said all my medications were stored in my fridge.

Imagine my surprise when the pharmacist scolded me gently. He told me 90% of all medications in liquid or pill form should be kept at room temperature. But, but, “cool dark place” I said; the fridge is a cool dark place. Apparently cool as in you don’t want the medication sitting on the ledge over your stove and against an appliance that generates heat. You don’t want the medication sitting on your work desk under a lamp. You want the medication to be away from direct light, in a cool place. The pharmacist went on to say that a cupboard in your kitchen is a perfect spot; not the medicine cabinet in your bathroom which is a hot, humid place at the start of each day!

So I challenged him; Sulcrate – cool, dark place, Pepto Bismal – cool, dark place, Kaopectate – cool, dark place, cat hair ball remedy – definitely room temperature, bandages – your medicine cabinet. We had a good laugh.

I then spoke with our vet clinic and sure enough all medications should be kept at room temperate, in a dark place. Keeping the medication in the fridge can actually cause the medication to degrade and affects its stability.

The only medication that is weird is the Medicam for Cats. The external packaging saying refrigerate, but some vets will tell you to keep it at room temperature. Apparently it is one of those medications that can handle it both ways.

So, unless the label states in yellow highlight refrigerate, make room in a cupboard in the kitchen for all the medications. I want a white lab coat so I can pretend I run a pharmacy lol. I had to go out and buy a small two drawer cabinet to put all the assorted medications and ointments in for the shelter ferrets. My medications and vitamins are all now in a cupboard in the kitchen!

Ferret Fur Everywhere!

Our ferrets blow their coats twice a year.  Around the end of February into March, ferrets will start shedding that beautiful thick luxurious winter coat.  Your ferret may “blow” his coat in one or two days coating everything in sight with fur or he may decide to spread the shedding over several weeks with tufts of fur left behind in his hammock.

Cheech getting a good brushing from Fred

Ferrets become very itchy when they are shedding.  Using a soft brush on your ferret helps to loosen the fur and give them a good scratch at the same time.  You don’t want your ferret inhaling all this loose fur! Worse, you don’t want your ferret to groom himself and ingest all this loose fur.  If he licks and ingests too much of his own fur, he can give himself a life threatening blockage requiring major surgery and a huge vet bill.

I have tried many types of brushes over the years and thanks to my friend Colleen, I have fallen in love with this round cat brush.  This brush fits nicely in the palm of my hand. Made of soft rubber, it contours the ferrets body nicely. It’s easy to remove the accumulated fur and of course very easy to wash with soap and water. **Don’t leave this soft rubber brush lying around after brushing.  Your ferret may decide to chew on it because it’s soft rubber and give himself a blockage!**

soft rubber brush for short haired cats

I have discovered that this rubber brush is also great for getting that thick mat of fur off the split hammocks. I have already worn out a washer and dryer due to an accumulation of ferret fur that doesn’t seem to get caught by the filter and gets into the guts of the machines.  I had a split hammock that was “loaded” and I certainly didn’t want to spend an hour picking the fur off of it.  One or two swipes with the brush and the hammock was relatively clean of the fur. Wow!

split hammock with “some” fur

excess fur removed prior to washing

condensed mat of Cheech’s fur in the hammock

mat of fur removed from inside split hammock

After using the brush to get as much fur off the hammock; I will wet my hand and pass it over the bedding and get the fine fur that the brush didn’t pick up.

Tiko, a gorgeous sale male came to the shelter in the late fall.  He adjusted to shelter life while he awaited his forever home.  I was getting to know him.  On litter box changing day I inspected his litter box as I do for each and every ferret.  It is the best and quickest way to determine if your ferret is sick.  When I looked into the litter box I immediately saw a strange poop!  Red flag went off.  I removed this poop so that I could examine it in minute detail.  It was not your normal fecal matter.  It was a poop containing nothing but FUR!! Tiko was a ferret that groomed himself lots and seeing as it was shedding season, he had ingested all his loose fur.  I was very lucky that he was able to pass this  blob of fur. He could have died as I would not have suspected a blockage and may not have gotten him to the vet in time!  Tiko could have easily been looking at major surgery to remove a blockage caused by his own fur.  Tiko is a ferret that you cannot forget to give hairball remedy on a weekly basis.  The hairball remedy ensures that his fur is “greased” and can pass easily through his system!

poop made up of ferret fur

poop dissected revealing it’s all fur

Jill – Part 2 – Lies challenged

I’ve blogged  about Jill.  Jill and her bonded partner Jack were adopted by a young lady.  Within a week there were complaints of the ferrets being itchy and possibly having fleas etc etc.  As explained in my previous blog; eventually she called me to tell me that Jill was dying and she needed to surrender her because she couldn’t afford vet bills. She refused to return Jack at the same time.  Jill was not dying; she was blowing her coat and only had her soft undercoat. She was a nice solid weight.  It took some time, but eventually Jill was sent to live at our satellite shelter with Bridget and her new ferret friend China Girl.  Jill had found love again.

jube-jube-aka-jill

Well, there was so much more “dirt” I could have shared but, I took the high road.  Turns out, that the young “lady” has been busy telling “alternate facts” regarding the adoption. How do I know this?  Turns out she began bad mouthing me to a current member of our association telling our member all about this terrible adoption. I was so happy to here that this member defending me and put this young “lady” Kayla in her place.  Our member did not know anything about Jill and Jack, she just knew me and how I conduct the shelter business and it wasn’t adding up! This member uses the services where this young lady Kayla works.  I would sure love to be a little bird watching what happens if she runs into the Kayla now that she has all the facts.

So, let me now share the facts with the corresponding documentation.  We are a non profit charitable organization and so everything is and has to be documented.  It made it so easy for me to challenge her lies!  I have blacked out her last name and address and phone number – if I was a mean person I could let the whole world know what a liar she is. It’s not slander when you have the documents substantiating everything.

Adoption processed May 2, 2017.  Receipt issued. Jack and Jill a bonded pair discounted to the adoption fee of a single ferret – $80.00 plus membership of $35.00 for a total of $115.00.  Received $120.00, and gave her the $5.00 difference. Now most folks have donated that $5.00 to the shelter, but she wanted her change.

Jack & Jill's Adoption Receipt

Jack & Jill’s Adoption Receipt

Jill adoption page 1

Jill adoption page 1

Jill Adoption page 2

Jill Adoption page 2

A week later I received a call from her complaining Jack and Jill were scratching a lot. I made suggestions about changing the laundry soap, using vinegar in the rinse and their cigarette smoking outside away from them. I made my first offer to gave her the adoption fees back and take the ferrets back. Offer declined.

The complaints continued so on May 11th, they met me at our vet clinic.  At our cost, I had the ferrets rechecked by the vet.  Our vet gave them both a clean bill of health except for ear mites.  I paid for Revolution. The vet bill came to $125.55 (with my discount). Do the math.  I am now $5.55 in the hole on this adoption. Not the point because our shelter isn’t about profit but about placing ferrets in good homes. If we break even, we are happy.

Jack & Jill re exam May 11th

Jack & Jill re exam May 11th

Kayla and her mom were not happy with the vet’s assessment.  In front of the vet, I offered to take the ferrets back with me right then and there and refund them their money.  Kayla declined, stating she loved them but she was sure Jill was a sick old lady and no way was she 3 year old. I suggested that they take the ferrets to a vet of their choice for a second opinion.  Kayla and her mom again  refused stating they didn’t have the money to waste on that! They knew what they knew, I had sold them an old and sick ferret. Jack of course was ok.

I let a week or so go by and then I sent off an email asking how things were going and telling them I looked forward to seeing them at the Spring frolic in June.  I watched for them at the frolic but they did not attend.

The next time I heard from Kayla,it was July 7th around mid morning. Kayla was calling me from her doctor’s office .  She was crying and  told me that Jill was very sick.  She had stopped eating.  She couldn’t afford vet bills, so she wanted to surrender Jill but she didn’t want to give up Jack.  I told her that as a bonded pair, if Jill was coming back Jack would have to come back too. The conversation became heated and at one point she had her mother call me and that conversation was not pleasant.  My integrity, my vet’s integrity were both called into question. Kayla did not have gas money to bring them back, whining about me living all the way across the city from her! Funny how the drive to adopt them wasn’t too far!

I contacted our President to advise him of the situation and to request that he accompany me when I collected the ferrets (at this point I was still hoping for both). At this point I was expecting to pick them up around 5ish. I put the vet clinic on standby that I may be bringing in a sick and dying ferret.  I didn’t want Jill to suffer and if she needed to be euthanized, I wanted to make sure they would have an appointment time for me.

Kayla kept pushing back the time I could pick them up. I have kept the texts from that day on my cell phone.Kayla had gone out for the evening and was now stating that she wasn’t dying, just had stopped eating. Fred and I ended up collecting Jill just after 10 pm that night, July 7th (notice it’s 2 months). She showed me that Jack was healthy (that was the final negotiation I could work out).  Fred and I drove two blocks and then took pictures documenting Jill’s condition.  She was a perfectly healthy weight, bright eyed with her soft undercoat and no guard hairs.

Jill Surrender form, page 1

Jill Surrender form, page 1

Jill surrender page 2

Jill surrender page 2

As soon as the vet clinics opened, I contacted a different vet clinic and  took Jill in as an emergency. I asked them to do a full work up health assessment and to provide documentation.  This was another expense that was totally unnecessary! As Fred and I expected, the vet pronounced her a perfectly healthy middle aged (approx. age of 3 years) ferret.

So, Kayla!  If you must tell people what a horrible person I am. You are welcome to tell everyone how you dislike me the person, but DO NOT MALIGN the shelter.  At least state the facts!

I did not adopt out an old sick ferret.

You did not return her within 2 weeks.

I did not refuse to return the adoption fee; offering several times to return the full fee for both ferrets.

I did not end up giving you back half the adoption fee.

I am happy to hear that Jack’s health did not decline over the loss of his beloved Jill.  I do believe that you love Jack and that was why I chose to keep our interaction quiet and move on. It’s too bad you couldn’t do the same.

 

I stole Mommy’s Desert!

Curled up on the couch watching TV.  The different groups of ferrets had just been put back to bed and I let out Jocko for his Mommy time. This wild little boy bounced from one end of the living room to the other. Little fart makes me laugh sooo much!

I decided to have my strawberry yogurt for desert. I peeled off the lid and stirred my yogurt. Vroom, Jocko was standing at my feet begging to be picked up.  Such a sweet boy!

Next thing I know he has turned himself around and he has his nose in my yogurt. Now, yogurt is actually good for ferrets.  When they have diarrhea you can add yogurt to their duck soup to help put the good bacteria back in their gut.

I'm eating Mommy's yogurt! Yummy

I’m eating Mommy’s yogurt! Yummy

Had to take the picture! Well he went to town on the yogurt, not even coming up for air!  After a few minutes I put him down, but he jumped back at my legs wanting more. Little piggy had slurped enough down for now, so it was bedtime for him!

Jocko polished off some of Mommy's yogurt!

Jocko polished off some of Mommy’s yogurt!

You know you are a crazy ferret mom when you share your yogurt with your ferret and then eat the rest, ferret spit be damned!

You’re trying to poison me!!!

As a long term shelter mom I have given more different types of medications over the years than I can count!  There is a medication prescribed to treat diarrhea that is very effective.  In fact it is the only antibiotic that will treat gut issues.  This medication is Metronidazole.

I must admit that when I take a shelter ferret to the vet for diarrhea I am praying that I will be prescribed something NEW.  It never happens. Ferrets HATE Metronidazole with a passion.

What is my complaint with Metronidazole?  Well, this medication is very, very bitter.  It is also prescribed to us humans and if you have ever had the displeasure of taking it; it is like licking a sour piece of metal – horrible bitter taste!  Our ferrets feel the same way.

The vet will tell you to camouflage the crushed pill in honey  or jam (never peanut butter). You may get the first dose in your ferret but trust me, you will wear the second dose, and the third and the fourth……………..

Ivan before his tummy issue

Ivan before his tummy issue

Well, I had to take Ivan to the vet for diarrhea and came home with the Metronidazole! Here we go! After years of crushing pills between spoons and using dollar store crushers, I finally went out and bought myself a pestle and mortar this summer (best 10.00 investment ever). I crushed the med. and went to the fridge for some “jam”.  Bridget had made some delicious Plum jam and had gifted me a small jar. When you select your masking agent you need to make sure that it will slide down the ferret’s throat safely and most importantly; QUICKLY! Peanut butter and honey coat the mouth and it takes too many licks to make it slide down the throat.  Ferretone (discontinued 2020, using Salmon Oil) goes NOT mask the taste well enough. So that is why we are back to jam.  You should never use a jam that can cause other issues. An example would be  using Raspberry jam. Never use raspberry jam because the seeds can cause complications.

Ok, back to giving poor Ivan his meds.  I have my pestle and mortar to grind the pill into FINE POWDER. I have my jam and spoon for mixing.

bitter medicine

bitter medicine

pestle and moter, 2 sizes

pestle and mortar, 2 sizes

smooth sweet jam to mask the bitter taste of crushed meds

smooth sweet jam to mask the bitter taste of crushed meds

Well, so far, most of you are probably thinking, yeah I know this!  Well I discovered something this time around.  The first couple of times, I had taken the jam out of the fridge to let it  come to room temperature (I have done this for years). Once the chill was off the jam, I mixed everything up and scruffed Ivan. I put the blob of jam in his mouth and then held him in a cuddle fashion. Let’s face it, we feel so guilty giving yucky medicine we have to cuddle them to say sorry!

Ivan fought me as I expected. He bubbled and frothed and we both wore the med but at least “some” got in him! On the morning of  day three I took out the jam, but because of sleeping in and being in a hurry for an appointment; I immediately mixed the jam with the crushed med and gave it to Ivan keeping him in the scruff mode as I did it.  Two things happened.  The cold jam slid down his throat and didn’t “melt” on Ivan’s tongue. Also keeping Ivan in the scruff mode meant he couldn’t  shake his head to spray his med flecked spit all over. The med went down in 2 seconds flat and Ivan didn’t froth at the mouth. Wow, that was easy! I gave Ivan a quick lick of Ferretone  discontinued 2020 – now using Salmon Oil) as a reward and he did not shy away from me.  He did not seem stressed this time. well, well, well.

I tried the same thing (cold jam) for the evening dose and again it went off like a charm.

I have since tried it with my IBS ferret JJ and he is not spitting up the Metronidazole. In fact in 5 seconds it’s all over with and he goes about playing. Man, I wish I had known this years ago.  I had always warmed the jam up to make it easier!  Now, I am no scientist so I can’t explain why the meds go down easier and quicker cold, but I tell you, I won’t do it any other way from now on!