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Ferrets/Ferret sudden weigh gain and inactivity

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Question
Luna, my marshal Ferret, is a 1.5 years old female. I feed her zupreem ferret and ferretvite. She is eating as much as she has been for the year I have had her. No vomiting or diarrhea. Recently I moved an hour away to Cape Girardeau Missouri and in the two weeks I have been living here I have noticed an unusual weight gain from 1.5lbs to 3.2lbs and unusual sleeping/activity patterns. whereas in the past Luna has slept for  maybe 14 hours a day now she is sleeping 20 hours a day. When she is out of her cage instead of her usual hyperactivity she is now sluggish and requires resting after only a few minutes of play. Recently I have acquired 2 chi-poo puppies (starting 3 weeks ago) they are both up-to-date on their shots. Luna is my first and only ferret that I have owned for a little over a year. No fur loss, actually seems that there is fur gain and increased softness. I am over the age of 18 and do not have a vet for her in my new residence.

Answer
Hi Jacob:

Sounds like your little Luna has a good, happy life with a loving daddy!

It is getting that time of year when our ferrets start to gear up for winter.  That is when we see fur thicken, weight gain, longer periods of sleeping.  She sounds like a perfectly normal ferret getting ready for the changes that fall & winter bring.

The next thing to look for will be hen she begins to shed that nice thick coat.  That is one of the most dangerous times for a ferret, as the shedding causes them to be surrounded by loose fur...in their bedding, their and cages.  When they lick and get this fur into their digestive system, they are susceptible to intestinal blockages.

To avoid blockages, I personally use a really good quality clippers (or ask a groomer to do it, but stay nearby to help hold her so they don't have to be scared, maybe injure her.  Also, change bedding daily, brush her frequently if she will tolerate. The point is to prevent her from ingesting loose fur as it sheds and any she does ingest should be moved thru the intestinal system as quickly as possible so as not to cause a blockage, which are usually fatal unless the ferret has surgical removal of the blockage in time to save its life.  Be sure to read up on signs and symptoms so you can identify it IF your ferret should either ingest fabric, a rubberband, and the multitude of things that can cause blockages.  Every owner should READ EVERYTHING possible bout ferrets....there just isn't room to put it all here.

However, it IS a good idea to keep her intestines healthy and free of foreign objects/fur.  Personally, I do NOT think cat laxatives are at all effective nor a good choice to use for ferrets.

Here is what I recommend:

VETASYL TREATMENTS FOR HAIRBALL / INTESTINAL BLOCKAGE  PREVENTION & TREATMENT

Vetasyl is a bulk agent, a safe product that absorbs liquids as it travels thru the digestive system and works like Metamucil works for people.  I gave him the CONTENTS OF ONE VETASYL CAPSULE (toss the cap itself away) blended into 8-OZ OF VERY WARM WATER and TWO LEVEL TEASPOONS of Uncle Jim's Duk Soup Mix (by Marshalls and available at pet stores or online pet supply stores).  I let him eat all he wanted...and he ate all 8 oz of it!

I repeated this and fed him 'lax soup' ONCE A DAY FOR THREE DAYS IN A ROW.  The first two days he passed a few small hairballs here and there, not enough to explain the tiny poops I had been seeing.  On the third day I gave the lax, he passed a hairball the size and shape of my little finger!!  It had some green pus on one end of it, so no doubt he was very very close to having a very very serious problem - but it was averted!  

Since then, I have been giving the 'soup lax' treatment about once every two weeks. I make up the soup at bedtime and he goes to bed with a tummy full of warm soup.  By morning when I check the litterbox, I often find little hairballs that he has passed.  The first time, for the initial 'clean-out', give it for three days in a row to be sure everything is out, but subsequent treatments can be just once every couple of weeks.  

My large male ferret eats the whole 8 oz of soup. Smaller ferrets may eat less. The secret is eating it with enough fluids so that it can swell up in the intestines and move whatever it finds in its path out.  You can get your ferret familiar with Uncle Jim's Duk Soup - it's a treat to my kids - they LOVE it!  Initially you may have to dip your finger in it, then into their mouth until they develop a taste for it and eat it readily.

Best of luck - I think you will be shocked when you see what's in the litterbox the first three nights that you give the Vetasyl treatment!  Hopefully she/he will eat at least half of the 8-oz...try to get her to eat as much as possible.

Here is one website where you can find Vetasyl (and there are many other places, of course):  http://www.vetmeddeals.com/vetasyl-fiber-caps-500mg-100ct-p-1486.html  

Hope that helps.  And be SURE to get a vet as soon as possible...better to be familiar with one and let them know you, as vets will never see you after hours, weekends or unless you have an appointment (and ferrets usually are dying by the time they appear ill)...so get established as soon as possible....and be sure you ask if the vet is an "EXOTICS" vet, otherwise, there are lots of vets out there literally "practicing" on ferrets who really don't have the special training necessary to care properly for ferrets...a dog and cat is not necessarily a good vet for a ferret, you MUST ASK.

Bestof luck.  Get the Vetasyl so you can start keeping her cleaned out regularly now.  Blockages are very very com,on reasons for ferret death, and it happens FAST, so best to prepare ahead of time and avoid problems.

Hugs to that sweet little girl, and don't hesitate to write again anytime.

Sincerely,
Jacquie Rodgers

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Jacquie Rodgers

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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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Yuma County Humane Society THUNDERING FERRET PAWS Facebook Ferret Group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ PLEASE JOIN US AND GET ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCED FERRET OWNERS!

Publications
Yuma Daily Sun (local newspaper) recognition for being an outstanding ferret mom and having incredibly well-trained ferrets. I am currently working on book of ferret care to share my experience. JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ for faster answers to your questions and input from other experienced ferret owners. Lots of past questions answered on AllExperts.com that you can still reference by category. If you don't find your answer there, please submit it and I will be happy to help you :-)

Education/Credentials
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!

Awards and Honors
WANT TO BE A FERRET EXPERT? I serve as the resident "guru" for this category. IF YOU WISH TO VOLUNTEER IN THE FERRET CATEGORY, please email me at thunder.paw.ranch@gmail.com and request an application. All volunteers must complete a general ferret information questionaire to be a volunteer in this category. Thanks for your cooperation :-)

Past/Present Clients
I try to educate anyone who is interested in ferrets, as I take my ferrets with me in public a lot. There is a lot of MISinformation out there about ferrets that needs to be dispelled with fact, and ferret owners who need to be keep abreast of the latest and best information. FACEBOOK FERRET GROUP (OPEN): THUNDERING FERRET PAWS - Join us as we all share our pictures, stories & experience!! :-)

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