Date: 2009-12-13 22:46:58 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Problem: Ferret has stopped eating, continues to lose weight. Help/Ideas?
Greetings! Thank you for taking the time to read about this problem. I am new to the group and joined recently.
I have a 2.5 year old male sable ferret named Black Jack who has been in perfect health up until a month ago. He lives in a large upright standing cage with three other males whose ages are 3 yrs, 4 yrs, and 6.5 yrs respectively. They all eat Marshall Farms ferret food (which they've been on for many years).
Black Jack was fairly large and weighed a little over 3 pounds. About a month ago, however, he started losing weight. I didn't think too much of it at first as he was always the heaviest of the four and seemed almost pudgy compared to the other three males. Over time, however, I became concerned and eventually noticed that he had actually stopped consuming food entirely - although he drinks water, he eats no food. I tried giving him some flavored treats that he always liked before and at first he would take them into his mouth, but then he would chew them just long enough that they would break apart, then he'd sniff at the little bits before him and eventually lose interest, swallowing nothing. His weight loss has become so severe that now he is the skinniest of the four and he barely weighs a pound.
I have been baffled by the problem - it hasn't made any sense to me why he won't eat when there is a constant supply of food and it's the same food he has been eating for more than two years now. He was always eager to eat and always ate more than the other three, now he won't touch it while they continue to eat. He will swallow ferretone, and I have started feeding him a high-calorie paste I got from a Vet, which he will swallow. But these seem like merely stop gap measures that don't solve the underlying problem - if he will not return to eating regular food, what then? Also, I think the paste is high calorie but not high protein, so I'm not hopeful that he will actually put weight back on. I thought maybe there was something wrong in his mouth (difficulty swallowing? tooth problem perhaps?) but after inspecting his mouth a couple times, there doesn't seem to be any reason why he can't just eat. It's almost like the problem is psychological, but he acts normal in eve
ry other way, i.e., bright eyed, curious, wants to sniff things, interacts with you when you take him out of the cage, etc. I just don't know how to fix this and I wonder if anyone else out there has had a similar experience. Prior to these four, I did have four previous ferrets (starting since the early 1990's) and I never had this happen before.
If anyone has an ideas, they would be greatly welcome. Thank you again for taking the time to read this.
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