Ferret Health

Image of a ferret at the vet.

You will need to take your ferret in to your veterinarian twice a year for a medical checkup and yearly vaccinations. Ferrets require yearly inoculations against canine distemper. They are highly susceptible to canine distemper and it is always fatal. Do not forget to inoculate against this every year! If your ferret is outside for any length of time, a rabies vaccination is also suggested. In some jurisdictions this is mandatory. Be aware that proof of rabies inoculation is required when taking your pet across international borders. Include a dental examination for your pet also. Though ferrets seldom develop cavities, check your ferret's teeth regularly as many ferrets break their fangs when playing. This can cause excruciating pain and make the animal cranky and prone to biting.

Spaying & Neutering

All ferrets should be fixed before they reach sexual maturity as this will drastically reduce their odor and it will extend their lives. Female ferrets go into heat in their first spring (generally in February) and they will remain in season until successfully mated. If mating does not occur, the females will succumb to aplastic anemia and die a most painful death. You will greatly increase your female ferret's life span if you have her fixed before this should happen. As ferrets are a very difficult animal to breed successfully and the risk of loosing the jill, her kits or both is very high, breeding of ferrets should be left to experts with on-site veterinary support. Ferrets attract mates through the use of pheromones which give the unneutered animals a very pungent aroma which most people find unpleasant. Unfixed males have a strong musky odour and mark their territory with urine. When a ferret is fixed (spayed or neutered) it's odour will be eliminated almost entirely. Thereafter, bathing on a monthly basis should be all that is required. However, ferrets like all animals will retain a slight odour. Be a responsible pet owner and have your pets neutered or spayed. This increases your pleasure in your pets and makes them more attractive to others.

Odor & De-Scenting

One of the most common statements about ferrets is that they have a bad smell. Most of a ferret's odor results from the influence of sex hormones on normal skin secretions. These secretions are drastically reduced when the ferret is neutered or spayed (see above). Being polecats and related to skunks, ferrets also have scent glands which they can release at will, though they rarely spray unless they are fighting, mating or very frightened. De-scenting involves the removal of these scent glands which are located at the base of the tail. Ferrets do not need to be de-scented. However, if you wish to eliminate the possibility of an unpleasant experience should your pet be frightened in a public place, consider having him de-scented. This is a minor operation roughly equivalent to a human tonsillectomy in seriousness and discomfort. Your ferret will be back to his active self in two or three days and he will never miss this natural defense. This increases your pleasure in your pet and makes him more attractive to others.

Hygiene

Once your ferret has been fixed and de-scented, a monthly bath is all your ferret will require. Use a good quality ferret, cat, or "no-tears" human shampoo, preferably with a conditioner. Be sure to wash around your ferret's neck and face as there are additional scent glands located below the eyes.

Intestinal Obstructions

The number one cause of premature death in ferrets is intestinal obstruction. Many ferrets will chew on soft rubber and other small objects. This is especially dangerous because these objects can become lodged in the ferret's intestine. This causes an agonizing and slow death unless surgery is performed to remove the obstruction. Many other items can be just as deadly: peanuts and other nuts, doll feet or hands, erasers, ear plugs, kitchen sponges, small rubber items such as bath or sink plugs, coffee beans, small buttons, fabric, Latex rubber toys for cats and dogs, household chemicals, shoe inserts and other foam rubber items, etc. Be careful and use your common sense as you would if you had a toddler at home. Fortunately, most ferrets outgrow this rubber attraction once they have left kithood, but it is best to take no chances. Do not feed your ferret grain-based foods (breads, cakes, cookies, cereals, noodles, etc.), nuts, fibrous fruits and vegetables, or dairy products. These items are indigestible by ferrets and result in various digestive problems, including blockages. Warning signs of a blockage are listlessness, vomiting, problems passing a stool, passing a thin and/or mucousy stool, refusal to eat or drink, vomiting after eating or drinking. If you suspect a blockage, take your pet to your veterinarian immediately!

Illnesses

Ferrets can catch the human influenza and cold viruses and they can pass them back. If you have a cold or the flu, be sure to wash your hands before touching your ferret. Keep the ferret away from your face and do your best not to give your cold to your ferret. Ferrets are also susceptible to canine distemper and rabies (see above). Other common diseases are adrenal and pancreatic tumors, Aleutian disease, bronchial pneumonia and other viral infections. Most can be effectively treated given early diagnosis. As ferrets tend to deteriorate quickly due to their high metabolic rate if they become ill, it is important to provide proper veterinary care immediately.

Ferrets are dry, temperate climate creatures who suffer from warm temperatures and damp. They should be kept indoors rather than outside, and when the temperature exceeds 20 C (72 F) they should be kept in a cool, shaded place with water. Ferrets do have sweat glands, but their thick fur prevents body cooling by evaporation, making them very susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration. Even if temperatures do not reach such an extreme, the ferrets are often left damp from the sweat and susceptible to chills from sudden cooling afterwards. Leave your pets at home with lots of water on hot days.

The red-eyed white breed of ferret, commonly called an "albino," was bred for the trait of eye color. Many of these animals suffer from hereditary vision problems due to this breeding and are basically blind, being able to distinguish only vague shapes and shadows. Expect an "albino" to require more care and attention than other ferrets.

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Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-5:30 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Open 1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month. Closed 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month.

8:00 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "We have a new 8 week Boston Terrier that we took to Springfield Vet yesterday for the first time. Absolutely pleased with the service, attitudes and genuine care shown to our little boy. The whole team was so professional, but took time to talk to you and explain everything. Dr Cynthia Wiseman is so wonderful, she sat in the floor did Logan's exam and played with him. What bedside manners. I will continue to use them, I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a caring and professional vet."
    Roi W.
  • "We absolutely love this vet clinic and the staff! The facilities are modern and always clean. Everyone is always so friendly and genuinely care for you and your animal- they make you feel as if you are apart of their family.

    Our boy, Samson, is a Rottie (and quite the problem child). We are usually in the clinic almost every other month for something and they are always so helpful and show great care and love for our pup! We are very picky/protective puppy parents, so we were very grateful to have found both Dr. Cynthia and Dr. Heath shortly after getting Samson.

    We have definitely found our "home" in the vet world, and would highly recommend to anyone who is currently looking!"
    Machaelie H.
  • "I have taken my dog here since he was a puppy. The staff are so friendly and caring, a very clean place and they always get us in quickly. When we come in no one passes us without greeting my dog and I and they're never in a rush to get us out of there."
    ShealynR.
  • "We decided to start taking our new kitty here this past fall and we love it! He was not on his best behavior (to say the least) for his first appointment, and the staff was so patient and was still able to safely run his bloodwork and give him his vaccinations. Every service has been reasonably priced, and they did everything they possibly could to make sure that our little guy was off to a healthy start after we adopted him. What I love is that they really seem to focus on the small details, too, like trimming our cat's nails after remembering that I had expressed interest in doing so at a previous appointment, or supplementing his flea treatment with something to safely speed up the process. We will definitely keep coming here as long as we live in Springfield!"
    Megan J.
  • "I have been taking my dog to SVC since 2012 and when I adopted my cat in 2015. I have never had a bad experience. We have seen Drs. Heath & Cynthia Wiseman and I love them both. Always professional, always take their time when looking my pets over, asking questions, and answering mine."
    Katherine P.
  • "We’ve been taking our Moose there for a few years now. After swallowing a toy when he was a puppy, getting fixed, having surgery on his eyelids a couple times, and most recently having a breed specific illness; I can I say I would recommend everyone to go here. They’ve taken the best care of our boy time and time again and went above and beyond."
    Ashley J.
  • "We’ve been taking our Moose there for a few years now. After swallowing a toy when he was a puppy, getting fixed, having surgery on his eyelids a couple times, and most recently having a breed specific illness; I can I say I would recommend everyone to go here. They’ve taken the best care of our boy time and time again and went above and beyond."
    Ashley J.
  • "Pleasant staff.,very informative. Great environment for your pets, including own room for cats to play so as they aren't stressed out."
    Cheryl K.
  • "Dr. Cynthia Wiseman has helped my little Shiba dog with chronic hip problems tremendously with consistent acupuncture therapy! So thankful for this practice and the high quality of care they offer my pets!"
    Lacey M.