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My little guy, Marlin, was just diagnosed with insulinoma 3 days ago by a general vet in town. I have an appointment to go see an exotics vet in a week. In the meantime, he is on prednisone 2x/day and does quite well. He has not seizures to my knowledge and acts pretty normal. He seems more tired, has back leg weakness, and has actually dragged his behind around a couple times (which I now know is a sign of him crashing.). He is 6 yrs old, so age is definitely a factor. I feel awful because I have been giving him ferretvite sometimes up to 5x/day and he always has a variety of bandit treats in a separate bowl. And I have been feeding him a mix of EVO, mazzuri, Marshall ferret food, IAMS kitten food, and friskies cat food blend for years. I was thinking I was giving him such a good variety and didn't realize the affects of the lower grade food and especially sugar. I feel bad that he just sits and looks at me waiting for the ferretvite and I can't give it to him. He almost seems depressed now, like I am punishing him for something. I have tried giving him Duk soup, baby chicken food, and carnivore care, but he won't touch them. He is not eating as much of his kibble. I have ordered zupreem and wysong kibble to try to get him to eat a better diet. My there SOME type of treat that I can give him? Something creative so he thinks he's having ferretvite or bandits? Is it okay to give him ferretone?

Help! I feel like a bad mom :(

Thank you for your time!

Hi Tanya:

You are on the right track by getting him off the sugar, so there's no way I have the heart to be upset with him.  When you knew better, you did better AND you got him to the, please don't beat yourself up.

Let's go from here and try to get hoping eating, or you will lose him.  Immediately, we need to chose the  best two foods, let's choose Evo with just a small amount of Marshallsi (not preferred, but we can do for now).  Toss the others out.

NO more treats, absolutely no more of the Ferretone or Furotone (same thing, just different manufacturer.  Comes in a dark brown bottle as a liquid. (the one in the tube, right?)  now you will need to get a supplement that all ferrets love.)  put a few drops on your finger and offer to him.  If he doesn't love it immediatelt, wipe it over his gums/tongue so he must taste it.  This is a supplemt, that you have to be careful not to overdose, so after a couple times of him licking it, mix the rest1 1/88$'mb,2 olive oil and 1/2 Ferretone.....this makes it safer for him.  He can overdose on vitamins a and D because they are held in the body, not excreted.

Next step is to get him to LIKE the Ferretone and accept as a treat.  Now, dribble a bit of Ferretone on a piece of Evo.  He *should* take it...hopefully.  Keep trying a few more times, maybe 10 times in an hour,  if he doesn't eat it, go back to a few drops of UNDILUTED Ferretone.  

IF HE DOES NOT EAT THAT, get some chicken baby food, ((MEAT ONLY, NOT ANY MISTURE).....however I had a friend whose ferret LOVED chicken and noodles dinner baby food...worth a try, but NOT good for daily food, so get a jar of each just for convenience.  Biggest thing right now is to get SOMETHING WITHOUT SUGAR IMTO HIM).  warm, put some on your finger and offer to him.  Hopefully he will take this; if not, try the baby food with a drop of Ferretone on it and offer to him again.

I think he will take to the Ferretone....IF NOT, put the teeny tiny "touch" of Ferrertvite in a piece or two of Evo. Hopefully he will eats that.  Again, he MUST get food in him today.

If you cannot get anything in him, :cc again tomorrow...otherwise he nat die.  These fluids will save his life if he is dehydrated.    If he does not do each step, move back one to the previous instruction, i.e., if he won't ear kibble from your finger, give only Ferretone on your finger.  If he won't even do that, test for dehydration because he is seriously in trouble already....react accordingly.  You MUST let him know he is loved WITHOUT THE FOOD, so please hold him, love on him, etc...he needs to know you love him, no matter what...hopefully those sad eyes will perk up a bit.

If you have an eye dropper or small bottle with tip, try ti get him to drink a little. If he won't do that, get a nice cool bowl of water ( more likely to drink than a drinking bottle.  Dribble a few drops on top od Ferretone...hopefyully he took it from your will be our brst way to get him past this crisis.

Do not be afraid to take him to the emergency vet, if he needs it, he WILL DIE.  Dehydration is first concern, eating is second worry.  Fluids sub-sub can give you time to continue to try to get him to eat.

Please please keep me updated.  I hope this email is received in time to help you.  IF you need to, please call me at nine two eight, two eight seven, six four zero one.  I am VERY CONCERNED about this little one.  Please take care of him, and YOU too, okay?  He is in dire straits.  

Ferrets "imprint" on their imprint ion their food, so he does not even recognize what you are giving him is food.m whatever you do, you 'can:' use a very tiny bit id Ferretvite in a teeny tint little bit of Evo rubbed all over the Evo piece bby piece. Teeny bits! I think he will eat them that way, then eventually just do every other kibble piece, then every third...until he gets used to the Evo as a taste he recognized.n eventually give him only Evo and Marshalls, even tho Marshals is not a highly rated food, it will do for now and he is used to it.

My thought and prayers are with you.  Don't hesitate to call, day or night.  I am truly worried and don't want to lose this little guy.  I think, if done right, he CAN pull out of this IF you stay on top of it.  Keep your hopes high and don't give up trying to get water (most important if dehydrated), then food IMMEDIATELY.  NO MORE SWEETS OF ANY KIND UNLESS IS THE TEENY TINY FERRITE YOU RUB VERT THINLY IN KIBBLE LIEDES...AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE...IT SHOULD JUST LOOK LIKE VERY SLIGHTLY DAMP FOOD. MOVE TO THE FERRETONE ASAP AND TO FERRETONE/olive mix asap..




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Jacquie Rodgers


PLEASE READ ALL BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS... WHAT I CAN DO: Being a ferret owner for 20 years, I can answer questions re: general care, cage ideas & requirements, healthy foods and snacks, safety issues, ferretproofing play areas, common causes of intestinal blockages, appropriate housing, litterbox training, making bathtime fun, toys, games galore, outdoor trips, "Do`s and Don'ts, traveling w/ferrets by car or RV, safe environmental temperatures & keeping your ferret cool in summer (NOT A FAN!!), setting up a hospital cage, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), helicobacter (ulcers), adrenal disease symptoms & care,intestinal blockages, helping your ferret recover quickly/safely from surgery; common problems of ferret ownership, illnesses; care of sick or injured ferrets, hospice/palliative care, facing & coping with your ferret's death, choices that must be made when a ferret dies, memorializing your pet online and in your daily life. #1 TIP: FIND AN EXOTICS VET BEFORE YOU GET A VET...IF YOU WAIT, YOU MAY FIND YOU HAVE TO DRIVE UP TO 6-HRS TO GET TO A PROPER VET!..if you did not find one first, be WILLING to drive as far as possible for proper care. AND.... #2 TIP: FERRETS ARE EXPENSIVE TO FEED, HOUSE, VET & CARE FOR PROPERLY...IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD ONE/OR NOT READY TO SACRIFICE, PLEASE DON'T GET ONE!! A FERRET IS NOT LIKE HAVING A CAT OR DOG!! THEY REQUIRE MORE TIME, ENERGY, CARE AND MONEY to properly care for them. Prepare to spend up to $8,000-$10,000 OVER A FERRETS LIFETIME (6 to 8 years usually) FOR NECESSITIES & VET CARE. WHAT I CAN`T DO: I can`t take the place of your ferret vet; if your ferret appears sick,PLEASE have your ferret examined by a ferret vet .TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE FOR A SICK FERRET - PLEASE, IF IN DOUBT, GET THEM TO A VET! 24- hours of a ferret not eating/drinking may kill your ferret! NEVER FORCE FEED A SICK..he may choke. Sub-Q or IV fluids from your vet who is not eating WILL help save his life IF he gets it in time.


I have nursed ferrets through many illnesses, an injury, and a variety of diseases over the years.Ferrets are so very delicate, yet incredibly strong-willed; a well-loved ferret will fight courageously to live if given proper medical care, close monitoring, and especially lots of TLC.& LOVE. A ferret can entertain for hours on end when they know they are the center of attention; and they can make even the grumpiest person laugh. They do require a LOT of time, love and daily care, but the love you give a ferret always comes back to you tenfold OR MORE!! I dedicate the time I spend helping others here to my precious little ones who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They taught me how to laugh, to love unconditionally....and how to live each & every day to its fullest, and for that I am forever grateful.


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I read everything I can get my hands on regarding ferrets, I learn from my great Exotics Vet, and my own experience and interactions with other ferret owners. I am writing a book on ferret care (Great Need for a CORRECT one!) never rely on a ferret book OR a website when your ferret is sick. I can help with suggestions to use IN CONJUNCTION with proper care by your exotics specialist vet (ASK when you call for an appointment whether or NOT your vet has EXPERIENCE in working with EXOTICS..if not, move on and continue to seek one. The wrong vet can KILL your ferret. I learned this early when my ferret hurt his front paw jumping off the couch...a vet, NOT EXOTICS SPECIALIST couln't handle ferret properly because he was afraid of the ferret...and ended up xraying THE WRONGBARM, telling me it was not hurt. I took xray & ferret to EXOTICS SPECIALIST VET 3-hrs away & found out the arm WAS BROKEN & wrong arm had been xrayed. THAT is how important it is to have a PROPERLY TRAINED VET FOR YOUR FERRET!

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