Message Number: YG7265 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-09-14 15:57:00 UTC
Subject: Re: dr. diagnosed fleas, but am having doubts

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., shelly palmer <lillshel@y...> wrote:
> Hello,
> Upon coming home, I noticed my silver had a funny red
> tinge to his coat. Upon closer examin I saw tiny red
> dots ALL OVER his skin. They seem to be part of his
> skin not in the way a scab would be but like it
> changed colors. My other two were not exhibiting this
> at first. Then the next day I noticed each had similar
> problems on one side of their jaw.
> The vet said they got fleas and the red skin dots are
> flea dirt.

I am certainly no vet but was cursed with the experience of dealing
with ringworm in 9 of 10 ferrets at once. The red dotted skin, the
fast spreading, the tinged colored fur, all sound very similar to the
ringworm that my ferrets had.

Because they were out in the lake, it could be possible that they
picked up a fungal infection while there. My vet has told me that
fungus is everywhere and it just takes the right kind of conditions
for it to spread on your pets. With the ferrets sleeping together,
when one has it, that warmth they produce by snuggling up sleeping
all intertwined with each other, is a great environment for it to
spread. That may be why some of your others have it on their mouths -
from grooming, and from sleeping with their head right on the
infected one's body.

A formal diagnosis can be made by doing a culture. Your vet would
pluck a few furs from the infected areas on the ferrets and send them
off for culture. They wait to see if the culture grows and if it
does, a diagnosis of ringworm could be made. I have no experience
with fleas, so can't speak about if it could or couldn't possibly be
fleas, but I do know that the ringworm that my ferrets had sounds
very similar to what you're experiencing.

The treatment that worked best for my guys was weekly bedding
changes, disinfecting the cages, and giving them each a doseage of
Program kitten doseage suspension. Program is a flea preventative,
but it does this by killing something in the skin that helps fleas
reproduce and eggs to hatch. This also keeps ringworm fungus active
as well. There is an article summary on the files section of this
group that you can print out and take to your vet for the use of
Program in cats and dogs in getting rid of ringworm.

In my humble opinion, if it's fleas, the program would help...if it's
ringworm, even still the Program would help. I can give you more
details on this if you need them, or just check through the archives -
several people, including myself, and some vets have written about
using Program in treatment for ringworm on this group in the past.

Good luck - if it's ringworm, it's not real easy to get rid of but
with diligent bedding changes and treatment, it's not the end of the

It didn't seem to bother my ferrets much to have it - and the Program
was tolerated well by my crew as well - they didn't fight me to take

Hope this helps,
Lisa Shortley