- Ferrets lack a cecum to digest/ process fuits and vegetables.
- A ferrets left lung has 2 lobes, while the right has 4.
- A ferrets body contains 14 or 15 pairs of ribs.
- A kit has 30 baby teeth, while an adult has 34.
- Food fully travels throughout their system in 3 hours.
When and How to Sub-q Ferrets at Home
Ferrets certainly know how to keep us on
our toes, especially when they are ill. They are known
not to display signs of illness at the onset, but rather
as it progresses having a real impact on their health.
This is why It is very important to take your ferret to
the veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of illness,
Two major concerns with any illness is food and
water intake. Decline or refusal can become very
serious, and even life threatening in a very short
amount of time.
Fluid intake is extremely important and you should do
whatever you can to encourage your ferret to drink. Loss
of electrolytes can lead into organ damage, most notably
the kidneys, as well as wasting. Adding Pedialyte to the
water can encourage your ferret to drink more than they
normally would and helps replace the depleted electrolytes.
If you scruff their neck and the skin doesn't snap back
rather quickly, which it should, chances are the ferret
is dehydrated, as that is usually the first indicator.
When all else fails, you will need to utilize sub-q fluids,
which your veterinarian can administer.
If your ferret has a chronic illness (ie: kidney disease),
your veterinarian may work with you to administer the fluids
on your own. It is vitally important to discuss this in
detail before hand, ensure you have the right fluids, and
have been trained on the procedure. You should administer
the sub-q fluids under the guidance of your veterinarian
or tech until you are comfortable that you can do this
on your own.
Click here for the
commonly used types of fluids and illnesses usually prescribed
You should have the following items on hand
and ready to go before gathering the ferret:
Before using the fluids, always inspect the
package and the color of the fluids. If the fluids have
a yellowish color to it, do NOT use
it, toss it out, even if it hasn't expired yet. This a
sign that it is no longer good to use. The usual dosage
of fluids is 30-35cc's twice a day as needed. You should
always consult with your veterinarian prior to administering.
Needles can not be
disposed of with your normal trash. The easiest way to
dispose of them is to bring them to your veterinarian's
Always ensure the sterility of the needles. It
is important that they make no contact other than
with the bag to draw fluids (single needle) or
insertion into your ferret (Butterfly Infusion
set). If they touch anything else, DO NOT USE!
Put on the side and use new needles.
The steps you will need to take are as follows:
Secure the 22g x 1 needle onto the end of the 35cc
The fluid bag will have a plastic stopper toward
the end of the bag on the top side, usually tan/orangey
in color with the center area serving as the drawing
fluid area. Do not confuse this with the white plastic
parts that are usually found at the top of the bag.
With the needle attached to the syringe, carefully
insert it into the bulls eye area, being careful
not to pierce the bag. Draw out the fluid into the
syringe until the desired amount is reached and remove
the needle from the bag. The bag will not leak, it
was designed to serve as a stopper.
You might want to run the syringe under running
warm/hot water to warm the fluids up a little, it
will be better tolerated this way. Test the fluids
before removing the needle and attaching the butterfly,
by dropping a few drops of the fluid on your wrist,
it should be no more than slightly warm. Remove the
needle from the syringe and attach the plastic end
of the Butterfly Infusion set onto the end of the
syringe (not the needle itself).
Now it is time to gather up your ferret. Set him
comfortably on your lap (you will have better control
this way, especially if you are doing this solo),
apply enough of the bribery treat onto your leg and
smear it around so it will keep him busy licking
for enough time.
Once your ferret is involved with his treat, gently
scruff his neck about 1/4" - 1/2" inch
down from the shoulder blades, and gently/carefully
insert the Butterfly Infusion set needle into their
skin, being careful not to insert downward or to
go through the other side. The best way is to insert
the needle level to their body. Your ferret might
flinch a little bit, don't worry, they have very
tough skin and it is not painful. At this point you
want to ensure they remain busy with their treat
and if necessary provide more.
Now you are ready to inject the fluids. If you can,
you might want to support your ferret under their
front legs with one hand, so you have additional
control. Place the syringe with the plunger on the
table for leverage. Very slowly at first, push down
on the plunger to push the fluids through. Your ferret
might jump a little bit when the fluids first start
entering their body, but they will quickly settle
down. With a steady flow, continue to push the remaining
fluids through, being careful not to go too quickly
to blow him away, or too slowly where he might catch
on to what's going on.
When all the fluids are through, apply small pressure
to the injection area and remove the needle from
your ferret. You might notice a swelling in the injection
area, which can be the size of a ping pong ball,
this is normal and will go away as the fluids are
absorbed into the body. Give a big reward and praise.
You are both done.
A technique for challenging ferrets:
While he is sleeping, massage the area where you
will be injecting the fluids,slightly tugging on
it. Work your way to get the skin and angle in position.
The goal is to get him to continue relaxing/ sleeping
while you get ready to inject, so by the time he
realizes he's been stuck, the needle is already in.
Place the syringe next to the ferret, and with one
hand lift the skin, while using the other hand to
insert the needle in a straight line 1" below
the shoulders (make a deliberate effort when injecting
the needle, if not you're giving time for your ferret
to move and squirm around)
Once the needle is in, use your hand that was holding
the skin to go under the ferret and hold under the
front arms with the body dangling (you don't want
the back legs on any surface to gain leverage) and
their back facing you. Keep the syringe very close
to the ferret so the needle does not get loose or
There is an excellent web site that details the above
procedures even more, as well as providing graphical representation,
to Give Sub-Q Fluids at Home".
- Ferret's normal rectal temperature is between 100 - 104 with 101.9 being the average.
- Heart rate is 180 - 250 bpm with 225 being average.
- Respiration is 33-36 per minute.
- Normal urine pH is 6.5 - 7.5
- Blood volume is 60-80 ml/ kg.
- Ferrets do possess toxoplasmosis in
their systems. However, unlike cats they cannot release/
shed the infected eggs back into the environment, they
hit a dead end, so humans cannot catch the disease.