Here are some key health care issues for ferrets.
Desexing is essential for all pet ferrets, especially females, ideally at around six months of age.
A female (jill) will come into season about September and will remain in season constantly until she is mated or until the breeding season ends. Unless she is brought out of season there is a very real danger that she will die from anaemia! Desexing is extremely important.
A male (hob) also comes into season around the same time and can lose up to 40% of his body weight. This is normal for a male and there is no need for concern. There will be a coat colour change (yellowing) as well. However, he may also become quite aggressive and try very hard to escape his cage in search of a mate.
You will also notice that his odour becomes very strong, unpleasant and overpowering and no amount of bathing will eradicate it. Descenting (surgical removal of the anal sacs) will not eradicate this smell and is not recommended. The solution to the smell is to have your ferret desexed – and to bathe him regularly.
Vaccinations: All ferrets need to be vaccinated against canine distemper once a year.
Worming: Ferrets are susceptible to the same worm parasites as cats and dogs – roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Worming every six months with a cat allwormer product is recommended.
Heartworm: Use Revolution every month (see note below).
Fleas: Advantage (Small Dog), Revolution and Frontline can all be used as a monthly liquid “spot-on” the back of the neck.
Please note that although these products are considered safe and effective in ferrets, only Advantage is legally registered for use on ferrets.
Influenza: Ferrets can catch the flu from people (and vice versa) so don’t handle them if you have the flu.
By Macarthur Veterinary Group