Date: 2012-01-12 18:00:57 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Fat Ferret
I have a ferret, Franklin, who is about 3 years old, and absolutely obese! He and his roomie, Peppermint Patty, get a ground raw mix of various meats/bones/organs in appropriate ratios twice a day, with no snacking in between. Patty is closer to 6 yo, and just a lean mean ferret machine. All of my other ferrets and cats are at the perfect fighting weight, but Frankie is positively rotund! I'm not talking about the kind of pear shape you get with an enlarged spleen or pred-belly, but thick padding all over. Think "cankles" and there's Frank!
They only get somewhere between 2-3 ounces of this mix per meal (for two ferrets), and they usually polish it off in one go. It's not like he's nibbling all day. It makes me nervous to restrict food intake even more than that, especially since I have trouble keeping weight ON Patty!
The ferrets get 4-6 hours of free time in their own room most days of the week, so they get plenty of opportunity for exercise, but Frankie is kind of a slug, and usually waddles around for a while and then finds someplace to take a nap.
Obviously the best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more, but I want to make sure there is not some medical reason for this weight gain. Do ferrets ever get thyroid problems?? He doesn't seem sick at all, eats fine (obviously!) poops fine, no coughing or sneezing, lumps, bumps, or anything, but he just doesn't have that spark that ferrets are supposed to have. Subjective, I know, but you ferret people know what I'm talking about. He waddles around and stick his nose in everything like a ferret should, but he very rarely actually plays. To me, this is weird in such a young ferret.
Besides limiting food, there's exercise... But how do you exercise a ferret that won't play? My gut is saying he's just too fat to play, but I can't exactly stick him on a treadmill.
Any ideas for me? I've never had a fat ferret before!
Amanda, 7 Kitties and the Peanuts Gang
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