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Ferrets/ADRENAL DISEASE/ EARLY SPAY OR NEUTER

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Question
Hi Jacquie,
I do not yet have a ferret and am doing lots and lots of reading. I have been reading a lot on the issue if adrenal disease. I read somewhere that one cause may be that ferrets are spayed or neutered at too early an age and that it shouldn't be done until about 4 months of age. Another cause being the low quality foods that North Americans feed their ferrets. What is your opinion on early spay/neuter causing adrenal disease? Is it more common in males or females?  And what do you think about a raw fed diet if I end up getting a ferret? Sorry about all the questions. I want to be 1000% sure before making the commitment.
Irene

Answer
Hi Irene:

CONGRATULATIONS on doing your homework BEFORE getting a ferret!  You are a rare and precious breed!

There are many theories about adrenal disease,even including the effect of artificial lights instead of them living according to when the sun comes and goes up being in lighted areas only.  Early neuter is another, food,there are about half a dozen possibilities. Some folks make sure their ferrets have a dark place to go into after sundown i stead ofexposing them to electrical lights, TVs,etc. Another is that a caged ferret just has to 'hold back' too much energy be ause they would be so much more active in the wild and it may cause their adrenal glands to put out adrenaline that just gets reabsorbed instead of roomping and plating on their own schedules. I don't know that any one theory is any better than another actually. Some things we can do eadily is to buy from a reputable breeder who vates well for their ferrets,then be sure they are not neutered too early. Make sure they get plenty playtime and as little artificial light as possible. Does that guarantee you a ferret without adrenal disease, no. Unfortunately, every ferret is a roll of the dice.

We CAN ( fairly recent information) 'probably' eliminate insulinomas if we completely restrict all forms of sugar from a ferrets diet. Read labels. Any word ending in'ose' is a sugar, along with syrups, malts, etc. Corn and rice as fillers are suspicious since ferrets are obligate carnivores. Their stomachs lack something called a caecum, which digests vegetables and fruits.  So a ferret should never have raw or cooked fruits or vegetables.Raisins have fairly recently found to be poisonous. As few as three can cause kidney failure. There are just sooo many things.

Many folks do feed raw meats and swearby it it, but some ferrets just refuse raw or cooked meats and will eat only kibble. There are now some great kibbles on the market that are arbohydrate free...no corn, rive, etc, but they use things like peas or beets to be able to make a formula that can be safely kibbled.  Here is a great food list for ferrets;

         http://moredooks.herobo.com/search.php?chart=ferret       

Try to choose foods with a 10 or a 9 rating for best quality.

There ar lots of great ferret groups on Facebook.  Mine is THUNDERING FERRET PAWS and we try to share experiences, knowledge, pictures and help each other. There are many other groups also. There is a new treatment to prevent intestinal blockages by furballs that I concocted and swear by and it is posted inthe "Files" section at the top of the page on our group caled Treating Hairballs.  This is the ONLY thing I ha e ever used where I actually SEE hairballs passand can truly say it saved one of my ferrets lives. He had surgery for blockage,  ut just days later still had symptoms so Ui made up this mixture and fed it three times a day and on Day 3 he passed a hairball the size of my little finger that was full of pus and would have killed him. My vet removed one, but it was not the deadly one!  Now I swear by this treatment, it is 100% safe and efective.  It uses a produuct called Vetasyl, similar to Metamucil for people, served in warm "soup" ,ade with Hills A/d Feline (canned) (a prescription easily digested food from your vet by Rx) warmed, thinned and fed by finger as much as the ferret will eat, to fill the intestinal travt. As it moves thru, it takes all the 'junk' with it.  Unlike petroleum hairball remedies over the counter that line the intestines and prevent ansorption of nutrients from their food, this way literally scrubs the intestinal lining, keeping ferret healthy and well nourished.

I do not feed raw or cooked meats, but there are folks who do and even have their own group to be sure their ferrets are getting balanced meat, organ meat, etc.  I would highly recommend looking into one of those for in depth information.  Simply look up "barf for ferrets".  BARF stands for Bones And Raw Food.

There is lots of health information, ferretproofing, care tips, play ideas and contacts here;  http;//www.ferretcentral.org  .  I would encourage you to continue to learn as much as possible about cages, etc before buying anything.  Ferret Nation cages seem to be best built, easier to clean and are roomy and everyone I know who has one loves it. Nearly everone ends up with one or a few if they stay with ferrets.  You can learn a ton of things like that in groups simply by asking and getting ideas in every area from experienced owners. There is a book called Ferrets For Dummies that has lots of good information in it.  There is just too much to share 20+ years of experience on here at one time, but you will learn it all if you continue to ask questions, meet other owners with lots of experience in groups, get to know folks who work in rescue, etc and they are a wealth of information also.

Hope that at least helps you get a good start. Best of luck. Hope to see you on THUNDERING FERRET PAWS on Facebook!  Keep up the good work. You are going to make a great ferret patent (ferrent :-)

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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