Message Number: YG1975 | New FHL Archives Search
From: RRC
Date: 2001-04-01 04:47:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Gerber chicken food vs "duck soup

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I really dislike most duck
soups. Nearly all of them contain additives with little or no proven
value, but may actually interact with or diminish the effect of
prescribed medicines that can and do help. There is a tremendous amount
of literature in shelters, ferret pamphlets, on the web, and spoken in
ferret gatherings about how one additive or another has cured their
little ferret friends, but none of them have ever stood the test of true
scientific investigation. Anecdotal evidence is NOT evidence, even if
you respect and admire the person reporting the "finding". For hundreds
of years, people were convinced the color red could cure or lessen the
impact of bubonic plague. After all, a lot of the people who were cured
were surrounded by red. With anecdotal evidence, every treatment which
produces a survivor becomes evidence, if it it has nothing to do with
the cure. Scientific testing attempts to tie the treatment to the cure
in such a way that there is no doubt about the results. Please note I am
not against homeopathic or alternative medicines; I would welcome any
treatment that helped. I just want to make sure I am not wasting my time
or endangering my ferrets, so I view them exactly in the same light as
any other treatment; with skepticism until proved.

Rather than use duck soup, I use Gerber's baby food, mostly chicken and
turkey, depending on the sick ferret. I might add a bit of Pedialyte to
thin it, but nothing other than that (unless I am using it to medicate a ferret).

Also, I am against force feeding ferrets with syringes or other devices.
While probably minor, I think the risks of overinflating the esophagus
and/or stomach or getting food into the lungs outweighs the benefits of
a few extra calories. I use my finger or an ice cream stick to feed my
ferrets. If they eat only a small amount, I increase feeding times
rather than make them eat more than they want at a single meal. I've
never lost a ferret due to malnutrition or low glucose.

As for the long term effects of feeding baby chicken as the primary
food, well, I hate to be blunt, but if the ferret is terminal, it
doesn't matter, and if the ferret recovers, you can put it on a better
food and it still doesn't matter. I suspect chicken baby is complete
enough so a ferret could last eating it as a primary food for a year or
two, especially if you were using Nutrical or Ferretone as treats. If
you are worried, adding a drop or two of Ferretone, or maybe some ground
Totally Ferret or other high quality ferret food would fill in whatever
was missing.

Those are just my opinions and others may be different.

Bob C

>From: macdoodle99@y...
>Subject:"Gerber chicken food vs "duck soup
>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.