Message Number: YG6983 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-09-05 01:52:00 UTC
Subject: Obesity in ferrets! Yes it is out there and here is an

I have wanted to tell this story for quite sometime although I have
been pre-occupied with ECE attack on all my babies. This was the
number one concern at hand although the worst has settled for now and
I have a chance to tell Baci's story for others to either learn,
comment, or pass it on.

At the time of Baci's arrival to our family it was the end of June.
When we brought him home from a pet store in British Columbia, He was
extremely obese. The clerk at the pet store really had no clue to
what was wrong with him they told me their thoughts were hip diplacia
or he had broken his legs in the chicken wire bottom to the cage. The
truth of the matter he was in his growing stages of life and was
neglected. Baci was on cheap cat food, restricted to a 2 by 2 cage,
with a lil littler box, a small lil blankie and a toy. He was in
company with 2 other ferrets. One of them was in the beginning stages
of ending up like Baci. I managed to leave some brochures of our
rescue in Alberta to assist them in better understanding these unique
pets and hopefully passing it on to others.

When Baci was brought home he was 15 weeks old and approximately 4.25
pounds. He was chubby everywhere! The weight in his rear end was so
heavy that he was unable to build muscle quick enough to with stand
the rapid weight gain that limited to him to dragging his lower half
around as if paralyzed from his waist down. It was a sad sight to see
and know that the outcome without the right person coming along would
have been questioned. This is why we emphasize a great deal on proper
diet, exercise and cage set up being an important aspect to a ferrets
health. Especially in the first few months of their development, just
like a child. Obesity persists to occur and the worst part is this
could have been avoided.

Baci has a wonderful disposition and has become a welcomed member of
our family. With time and patience through 2 month's of free roaming
and one of other ferrets, Nibbler being his personal trainer he has
successfully dropped to 3.2 pounds and is walking! This was a gradual
thing, there were trial and falls for Baci but he never gave up. When
I took him to the Vet to have him looked over our Vet recommended
water treatments, limit his diet and try to restrict him to the
carpet due to linoleum giving no traction. I listened to everything
but the diet. Observing his activity level and the amount he ate, he
just needed a chance to play hard. Sleeping and eating was the last
thing on his mine with his new found freedom.

This of coarse is not for every ferret with a weight problem you
should consult your vet with considering this was a young ferret.
With other circumstances it maybe different. Please do not use this
isolated circumstance as a guideline if this is occurring with you.

The water therapy consisted of putting Baci in water he could touch
the bottom if needed but deep enough to encourage him to swim. He was
very buoyant and could swim quite well although his main objective
was to get out! So he tried to build enough momentum to bounce out he
did not succeed but I gave him and A' for effort. I would hold him if
he seemed tired and calm him to reduce stress. His water therapy
would last about 10 minutes and we would do it every 3 days or so. I
used his activity to my advantage with making him follow me around or
encouraged him to play. With aid of a friend we made a jolly jumper
out of my nylons to support his mid section to reduce the stress to
his back legs. This would work until Baci thought it was a game.

When we intergraded Baci with my other two is when the improvement
seemed to speed up. Nibbler was his personal trainer consistently
riding his back (literally)! Chasing him down and wrestling. After a
while Baci's slug position began to evolve to standing and then a few
steps. Finally one day he walked from one end of the front room to
the other. My stomach had butterflies as if it was a miracle that I
just encountered. "HE WALKED!"

We are now in our 3rd month Baci is still heavy but is increasingly
improving at a rapid rate. I believe he maybe the next spokes pet for
Jenny Craig. Everyday is better then the last and he has endless
energy. I tell this story to prevent this, educate, build awareness
or give hope for others! I hope you enjoyed our true Story…I had to
limit many other points to this story to restrict length and to keep
it on health perspective. I will keep you posted to Baci's ever
increasing improvement and let you know when he does the WAR DANCE,
starts mountain climbing and loses more of his mass! Please comments,
questions or if you have additional advice to helping obese ferrets
from your own personal experiences.

Just like people obesity can eventually lead into health problems or
shorten the life expectancy of ferrets, and god knows we don't need
to do that! So please take care and thanks for taking the time to
read this! VEX