Message Number: YG4912 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-26 17:53:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Ferret ate bedding and died

In a message dated 6/26/01 1:15:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

I had 3 ferrets. My youngest got very sick over the weekend.
diagnose (from an xray) was that he ingested something and had a
blockage. There were no options but to have him put down. He was

only 3 years old.


I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes ferrets eat things they
supposed to. You will want to keep an eye out for gagging, dry
coughing, and
even vomiting. Also, their stools can look real small or "ribbon
like" and
even be greenish in color.

Plus, ferrets can get hairballs, especially when they shed their
coats for
the season. They can't cough up hairballs like cats... they have to
them. You will want to purchase a ferret laxative to keep on hand
at all
times. Its not a "cure-all".. you will always want to supervise
activities and remove anything you think they are ingesting that
could harm
them. If you see any signs of an obstruction, though, immediately
go to the
vet. Obstructions can many times be removed through surgery.
Sometimes the
laxative works on its own. If you give the laxative now and then
once a week or so) it might prevent future accidents. Since I'm not
a vet I
really don't know how much is too much or not enough so your best
bet would
be to consult with a "ferret knowledgeable vet" Or, maybe one of
the vets
here could advise you. I do know my vet said the laxative is very
gentle, so
every year during shedding season they start back up on the
laxative. I just
follow the instructions on the tube.

Perhaps there's a problem w/their teeth and/or gums. A vet would
need to
diagnose this as well. Are you sure the other 2 are chewing? Watch
maybe it was just the littlest one.

You might just have a few little guys who really like to chew.
Every time
you see them chewing, distract them. Ferrets love their play time.
At least
a few hours a day. Run them around with a blanket. Play
tug-of-war. Do you
have one of the ferret tubes? Like dryer tubing, its coiled and
they really
seem to love it. The one I have is the Ferret Super Highway (I
think that's
what its called). They run through chasing each other while I drag
it around
the house. Too funny.

Or maybe their bedding has a smell they like too much, don't like,
or that
reminds them of food. I wash their bedding with a mild detergent
that has no
perfume. I don't use softeners, bleach, or chemicals of any kind.
Are they
hiding food in their bedding and possibly chewing to get at it?
Maybe shake
it out everyday and wash it weekly. Sheets, T-shirts, etc. are fine
bedding, its difficult to tell why they keep chewing. Did you adopt
Are they runts of the litter that possibly had to fight for their
Could they have ever been abused before you got them? Who knows
what's going
through their heads.... if we could figure that out we could fix
problem. Oh well, I still think your best bet will be to distract
them and
keep them entertained. Let them out to play as much as possible.
If they
stop playing to chew on something, firmly tell them "no", then
continue with
a new game. Ferrets are pretty intelligent considering their size.
It might
take a few times, but they'll learn.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Write back to the list and let us know
how the
other 2 are doing. Or write to me directly if there's anything I
can do.
Again, I'm sorry about your littlest one. I'm sure you did the best
could. Take care.