Message Number: YG2174 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Shirley Hewett
Date: 2001-04-04 15:21:00 UTC
Subject: Ferrets in West Oz

To Jerry Murray & Amy Flemming,

I can only echo what Amy (Hi Amy!) wrote about ferrets in
Western Australia except for the desexing bit. It may have
been a typo which gave the impression that females are not
sterilised at 6 months to a year when the reverse is true. If
not to be used for breeding, most ferrets nowadays are
sterilised after 5 months and before 4 years. There was a case
here when a vet sterilised a 3 month old girl and I threw up
my hands in horror and contacted the vet. Seems that that
little ferret was already in season so she was either a bit
precocious or the owners had her age wrong, LOL.
It appears that lymphosarcoma is out and about here and I have
a few pathology reports testifying to the fact. How prevalent
it is however, remains to be seen. Certainly I have heard of
ferrets dying with symptoms matching that of insulinoma, but
without a pathological report to back it up, I can't count
them in any statistics at this stage.
The presence of adrenal disease is rather more difficult to
pinpoint and I can only repeat what I said in a letter to
Sukie some days ago. Very briefly: A year ago a vet in NSW
reported an increase in adrenal disease. WAFFS put an article
in their newsletter advising people not to import ferrets from
the Eastern States until the matter was clarified. A
university in Sydney performed ferret autopsies for a year and
found no adrenal problems. A committee member has recently
returned from South Australia where she met with members of
the South Australian Ferret Association who told her that
adrenal cancer was becoming a problem. Some breeders here
have continued to bring ferrets in from "Over East". Today I
am hoping to be able to contact some people by phone to help
with clarification.
Amy, I would be interested to hear about the 2 adrenal cases
you know of, eg diet, where housed etc, if you can find out.
Interesting point about ADV! Brings to mind how New Zealand
was considered to be free of ADV until recently, although
given the "sociability" of Oz ferrets, eg hunting, going to
shows & races, visiting friends and boarding, I would expect
that there would be more sign of it, if indeed it was in the
Descenting is not done as a matter of course here and you
would not find many vets willing to perform the procedure
without a good reason to do so.
Diet does seem to be the biggest difference apart from the
early neutering, between US and Oz ferrets. Like Amy, I feed
a mixture of raw meats supplemented with good quality kibble,
but my lot also get lactose-free milk laced with with
egg-yolk, cream and a tiny bit of cerial or Nutrigel each