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 Ferretone 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
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 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.
pestle and mortar, 2 sizes
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 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!