Message Number: YG168 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Dr. Bruce Williams
Date: 2001-02-25 12:21:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Dr. Williams/Food Question

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Kathy Maxwell" <petfriendly@h...>
> First I want to say it's great to have you Dr. Williams. I was
beginning to go into withdrawal from not reading your posts.
> Just out of curiosity for anyone that wants to answer this, is it
better to give ferrets ground chicken (bones and all) or pinkie mice?
Does one have more nutritional value than the other?
> Kathy and the Ferret Collective

Dear Kathy:

I'm going to sidestep this one, and probably a lot of the others on
nutrition. My area of specialty is medicine and surgery, not
nutrition. Now I can tell you what happens if your diet is deficient
in one ingredient or another, because it causes disease. But I
generally do not advocate on particular diet over another. All diets
are largely backed up by anecdotal evidence, and these are matters of
strong opinions to many folks.

Personally, my ferrets get a combination of high quality feline and
ferret chows in kibbled form. I am confident that they are getting
adequate nutrition, because they are long lived, have good hair coats
and a lot of energy. I do get my share of adrenal disease and
lymphoma, but I don't think that there is a diet out there which
prevents these conditions.

As a pathologist, but not a nutritionist, let me make one caveat
about the feeding of any raw product - there can be diseases in
animal species that can be passed from feeding raw meats. Black
footed ferrets fed raw horsemeat have died from Streptococcus
infections which are common in horses, and several yeasrs ago, an
outbreak of a disease called lymphocytic choriomeningitis killed a
number of marmosets who ate pinkie mice which were infected with the
virus (mice are uncommon carriers of the arenavirus which causes LCM).

While the transmission of disease from the feeding of raw meats to
ferrets is unlikely, persons who desire to feed these type of diets
should be cognizant that there is a risk.

From the outside, looking at your question - I'd go with the chicken,
properly cooked!

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM
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