Message Number: YG5397 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-07-11 21:39:00 UTC
Subject: Re: distemper vaccines

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Joy Galey <sacred@w...> wrote:
> I have a couple question that maybe some one could help me with.
One of
> the vets advise would be helpful.
> I have heard of so many cases where ferrets have had a severe
> to the distemper vaccines that it has really worried me. My oldest
> going on 2 1/2 years old and he hasn't had it since we got him. I at
> first didn't know he was suppose to get this and when we got our
> one a year later I found this out.
> Now, I haven't done it cause of all the stories about the reaction
> of ferrets seem to have. I even have a friend here who's ferret has
> a severe reaction and has to have other shots to keep her from
> to it.
> So my questions are how necessary is it? Whats the risk if they go
> out getting it? Whats the risk of a reaction if they do get it? Am I
> putting them in more harm not getting it? And if they do react to it
> what will they have to go through and what is done to keep them from
> reacting to it?

Dear Joy:

I think that you can probably search the archives and find a lot of
discussion on this topic. My viewpoint hasn't changed - distemper in
ferrets is 100% fatal, adn a very ugly way to die - rashes, pus from
the eyes and nose, loss of the immune system, diarrhea, pneumonia and
death. Not just the individual, but all other unprotected ferrets
they come in contact with.

There is no doubt that anaphylactic reactions do occur with
vaccinations in ferrets - most commonly with Fervac-D, and to a
lesser extent with Galaxy-D and Imrab, however with proper
premedication with antihistamine, and close supervision for 30
minutes, the majority of reactions can be avoided or at least

This is no amelioration of distemper in an unvaccinated animals -
this animal disease, but not without serving as a virus factory to
pass on the disease to those around them.

We have had this disccusion before - you do hear a lot about the
reactions. What you don't hear about is the 98% or so of vaccinates
that have no problem. I've never had a problem in my own ferrets in
8 years of vaccinating with Fervac-D (although now I use Galaxy, just
to be on the safe side) and everyone gets annual rabies boosters.

I would strongly encourage you to discuss this with your vet and get
those vaccinations.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM