Message Number: YG1937 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Michael Janke
Date: 2001-03-31 22:44:00 UTC
Subject: RE: Gerber chicken food vs "duck soup"

In our former shelter, and personally, we have sustained ferrets quite well
on a mix of A/D and Gerbers chicken baby food. 1 can of A/D mixed with one
jar of baby food, with a little water added so it's not quite so pasty. One
of mine has been eating nothing but this for a couple years now. Yes, it's
not the most complete diet, but eating this is better than not eating at
all, and he would go into a hypoglycemic seizure long before he'd touch
kibble. This diet, along with pred, has gotten him to the point of obesity
I'm sad to say. But after three years of battling insulinoma with only
rare, and very minor hypoglycemic episodes, he's doing pretty darn good.

I know Dr. Williams is not in favor of syringe feeding because of the
dangers of the ferret aspirating some of the food and ending up with
pneumonia. But I have syringe fed when necessary quite successfully for a
long time. EXTREME caution is necessary, that's for sure. Beasley gets his
prednisone mixed into 5-10ml of the soft diet twice a day via syringe. I do
it this way to insure he gets every drop of pred.

Dr. Williams will probably mention it, but if not, he has a web page on
feeding a sick ferret baby food. The URL is


> To anyone, but especially Dr. Bruce Williams,
> My 7 year old ferret Mackenzie has not been eating for the last 2-3
> weeks. Last week when I first took her to see the vet, he
> recommended feeding her the Hills A/D canned food mixed with Ensure,
> which I believe is believe is something like the "duck soup" that I
> keep reading about. She hates that stuff. I got on the internet and
> read one of Dr. Williams articles about how to feed the Gerber
> chicken food and she has been eating it just fine from my fingers. I
> can easily feed her a jar a day.
> I went back to see my vet today because Mackenzie was not improving
> and we did a blood sugar and it looks like she has insulinoma. He
> told me insulinomic ferrets frequently do not eat and that I can't
> sustain her on the Gerber chicken food and I should force feed her
> the Hills A/D canned food mixed with ensure with a syringe. I
> thought I read somewhere, but I can't find the article or email, that
> Dr. Williams felt force feeding with a syringe was not a good idea
> because it can lead to aspiration. I also thought he was not a fan
> of the "duck soup" but I can't remember why and I can't remember how
> long ferrets can be fed the Gerber chicken food.
> So far, Mackenzie has not lost any weight on the Gerber baby food.
> She has been on it a week. She may have even gained a bit. It just
> seems more kind to give her want she will volunarily eat than to
> force feed her. What I really want to know is: Can I just keep
> feeding her the Gerber baby food? If so, for how long? Or do I
> really need to force feed her the "duck soup"?
> Thanks!
> Kristy and Mackenzie