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Ferrets/ferret and aluetian disease


I had my buddy put to sleep two days ago. I had rescued him 7 weeks ago off a porch, eating cat food. I was his third home. He was so thin but had gained weight, learning to play and so joyful, he didn't even know how to go up and down stairs, had always been caged. Within a few hours he had lost his hind legs to paralysis, I couldn't bear to see him that way. X rays looked fine, blood work showed gamaglobin off the charts, vet diagnosed aluetian disease, not my regular vet, she was out of town. His urine had always looked a little dark to me, more like ice tea, I thought he may have been dehydrated and I know they put drops in his water for odor control, I thought it was getting a little better, lighter color. I wanted him to be stable here before I took him for a checkup, he was so scared on the car ride to his new home. Now I wonder if he had kidney failure. I have an 8 year old female and she loved him, played, slept with,so happy. Now I have bleached, lysoled,thrown stuff away so afraid that I brought this virus into my home. I can't even get her another friend because they might get infected.I have probably infected her! I have so much guilt and don't know what to do. I hope I made the right decision for him, any suggestions you have on what to do now would be appreciated. P.S. You helped me before with my Zorro, he passed 10 months ago at 9 years of age.

Hi Beverly,

I am sitting here crying reading the story.  You had absolutely no way of knowing that precious little angel was so very sick.  I too have brought rescues home before, then had to deal with repercussions with my own ferrets.  Your heart was in the right place...and I honor you for what you gave this little guy probably the ONLY happiness he had in his whole life.  Whatever the outcome, please remember that and one other thing....there are no "accidents" in this world.  God has it under control.  You have done absolutely everything possible to try to keep your ferret from contracting illness just as soon as you knew there was a could have not done more!   You are an outstanding ferret mommy, you have a HUGE heart....and my heart is breaking for you.  Please know that I would have done exactly the same thing considering this little guy's circumstances, both before, bringing him home, and feeling guilty while disinfecting like a crazy person now.  I don't think I would have had the heart to isolate him until he was medically cleared.

You have cleaned and disinfected (did you bathe her?) and done everything I can think of to protect her.  KNOW that she also enjoyed the company of this little angel on borrowed time.  It did enrich her life, however it turns out....they had special time together too.  We will never know what that meant to her.  Know in your heart that 8 and 9 year old ferrets are considered very long-lived little ones, so you must be doing a LOT of right things....please don't feel guilty in any way.  I believe you will be blessed for what you did.  Perhaps your little girl won't get it....miracles happen.

At the very worst, IF your house really is contaminated and not disinfected enough, then maybe you are meant to love those precious little fuzzies that everyone labels as "lepers".  You are a great ferret mom with LOTS of experience.  My best advice is to just ride this one out for a while....until you know for sure what, if anything, you may be dealing with.  THEN sit down and decide if you have the time, energy and (i KNOW you have the HEART!!) to take in these precious sick little ones.  It's not like you or your family can get it, but you could make the end days of a few or a lot of ferrets nobody else wants to touch special and show them LOVE, perhaps like they have never known in their lives.  That is, of course, a decision only you can make.  I can only reassure you I would have done the exact same thing....would be doing exactly what you are doing now and have the same guilt and doubts you are feeling.  I don't know if that is any comfort...but you are MY HERO.

I have you and your little girl in my thoughts and prayers....God already has His hand in this whole situation in my opinion.  Hopefully that will give you some comfort.

Please let me know how this turns out?  The "big picture" of this story is yet to come, please believe that.  There is nothing more you can do but pray, wait, and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for giving that little guy a few days of happiness and for him to feel loved probably the first time in his life...that can never be wrong.  Please stay in touch?

Jacquie Rodgers


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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.


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:!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ for faster answers to your questions and input from other experienced ferret owners. Lots of past questions answered on 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 :-)

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 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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