You are here:

Ferrets/Ferret hates ferret food!

Advertisement


Question
Hi! I'm going to try to give you a lot of info about this situation, so I'm sorry if it's a long email!

I have a little weasel girl who's about 7, and I've had her for about 6 years. About a month ago, I noticed her poo was a bit jelly-like. Shortly after, I got a REALLY bad cold/sinus infection thing and tried to stay away from her as much as possible so she wouldn't get sick from me. Around the same time, I noticed she didn't appear to be eating her food (she lives with another ferret, and I was used to filling their dish twice a day and all of a sudden I was only filling it every other day. I saw him eating a few times but didn't see her eating). At the same time, she went through a major shed. Her fur, which had been fluffy and white was falling out like crazy, and being replaced by wiry yellowish fur. By this time, her poo had gone from gelatinous to tiny amounts that had drips nearby and what looked like foam (foam is in bubbles, not foam as in something she chewed). I brought her to the vet who checked her and said everything seemed perfectly normal, teeth and mouth looked fine, abdomen felt fine. She put her on a course of amoxicillin and another antibiotic (I can't remember the name) which she said is for intestinal infections. I gave her the antibiotics for two weeks along with Benebac and her poo improved to normal-looking (though still usually small) but during that time, she wouldn't eat ANYTHING except Carnivore Care. I brought her back to the vet who checked her again, and out of curiosity offered her a piece of sweetened fruit, which my ferret happily started eating (we took it away from her, but it was just a test to see if she would take it or not). Other than that, she wouldn't eat treats, ferret food, cat food...the only thing was the carnivore care. My vet suggested soaking her food in water and mixing it with carnivore care and when I did that, she would eat all the carnivore care but leave the mushed pieces of ferret food.

If I open her mouth and put a piece of food in her mouth, she will run off with it and drop it in the corner, but she won't eat it. With the mushy food mixed with the carnivore care, when she's eaten all the carnivore care, she takes big mouthfuls of the mush food and drops it in the corner, and comes back for more, but won't eat any of it.

It's been almost a month now and I've seen her put her head in the food bowl like she's going to eat, but not take any food. I've even seen her take a couple pieces of food out of the bowl and drop them nearby, but not eat any of them.

In the last week there've been some improvements: if I give her a ferret treat, she will eat it. She used to love to steal food from my parrot and when she first got sick, I offered her a piece to see if she would take it and she didn't even touch it. Today I offered her a piece and she actually tried to eat it, which was really exciting. Then I offered her a piece of cat food, which she had no interest in. Sometimes I literally stick her in the bag of ferret food to make sure she can get a good smell of it, and sometimes she seems vaguely interested, other times she pays no attention, but one way or the other, she doesn't eat any. It's the same food she's been eating all her life, and the other ferret isn't having any trouble with it.(It's the Zupreem food).

During my last vet visit she got an injection of lupron which seems to have improved her coat. We're going back to the vet tomorrow for her 4th visit this month, possibly for bloodwork. The carnivore care is very expensive, but I'm mostly concerned that there's some underlying medical problem I'm missing. She seems fine otherwise, climbing things and getting into all kinds of weasly trouble, but I wish I could get her to eat on her own!

Have you ever seen or heard of anything like this? Is there anything else I can ask the vet to check for? I appreciate any advice or recommendations!
Thank you :)

P.S. I tried to get her an appt for accupuncture to see if that would help, but they didn't have any available appointments until the end of January. I'm hoping she'll get better by the, otherwise I'll spend a fortune on carnivore care!

Answer
Dear Lisa,

Sadly, your little girl is quite old for a ferret.  Obviously you've been a WONDERFUL caretaker of this little furry friend.  And, yes, I have a suggestion for you.

Since your little girl doesn't seem to have a medical problem I think age is the major factor.  Loss of appetite and change in hair are two signs.  Right now body weight is important.  I can tell you that I've experienced the same problem and what has worked well for me. So - here we go.  Each morning offer her about half a teaspoon of Gerber Junior Baby Ham & Gravy (baby food).  If you can't find ham & gravy, try chicken baby food.  Serve it along side a portion of her regular food and a dose of ferret vitamins (I use FerretVite but any quality ferret vitamin will do).  Make sure you follow the vitamin dosage directions carefully.  An overdose of vitamins will cause diarrhea and you certainly don't want that.  Don't worry if she becomes addicted to this special diet - it won't hurt her.  I've had a little girl on this diet for almost three years; she's pushing nine years old now.  Remember, with age, your little girl won't play as much and will sleep more.  Her hair may begin to get thin.  However she should become more interested in breakfast and begin picking up some weight.

Please let me know how things go and write me again if you have any further questions.  I am always very concerned about my clients and their furry little friends.

Warm Regards,
Janet  

Ferrets

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Janet Russek

Expertise

I can answer questions re: Feeding(keeping that body weight up) General Care, Safety, Behavior, Best Cages, Proper Toys, Dangers to Ferrets (ferret proofing your home), Play Area/Room Suggestions.

Experience

I've raised ferrets very successfully for approximately twelve years. I usually kept three at a time. I presently have one. I've tried a variety of cages, habitats, toys, treats.

Education/Credentials
Highschool grad with some college.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.