Message Number: FHL1976 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Sukie Crandall"
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 19:28:35 -0000
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Force Feeding with a Syringe-Looking for help
Feeding sick ferrets:
Jennifer, ALWAYS first try finger feeding rather than syringe feeding.
Syringe feeding is essential when needed but can usually be avoided.
Here are some resources (past posts and more) to help you. Some give
the kinds of tips you need to avoid syringe feeding while others concentrate
on syringe feeding itself. There are some errors in some such as listing
ferrets as getting colds (which are from a rhinovirus they don't get though
ferrets do get more serious things which can look like colds) so use your
vet's advice and your best judgement with these truly fine resources. Call
and clear what you are feeding and how you are feeding with your vet first.
If syringe feeding is needed ASK FOR HANDS ON INSTRUCTION BY YOUR
VET OR AN ASSIGNED VET TECH.
Our link just got slow so I will count on you to check the many excellent posts on how to
safely feed sick ferrets in the archives:
Here is some other recently shared info:
Kibble can be hard on a some sore stomachs so try
things like meat or poultry based baby foods and try f
inger feeding to introduce it. Sometimes they will eat
more if sung to (not joking). Just put a towel on your
lap and take your time.
Avoid raw foods whenever ferrets are compromised; the
bacterial load (sometimes parasite load, sometimes
irritation from bones passing through by inflamed and
easily injured tissues) can be too much for them. (I do
not feed raw myself, but a healthy ferret can deal fine
if the prey is well selected, but worse than with other
balanced diets if poorly selected or poorly managed.)
If there is a treat he likes that can be added to water to
make the water especially attractive try that.
If the ferret gags when you are syringe feeding then
you are not doing it slowly enough in low enough
amounts, and not enough to the front of the mouth.
Never shoot food in, never insert large amounts, never
aim it for the back of the mouth.
Gagging is one of the indications that food could have
been inhaled; that can cause aspiration pneumonia.
It's a slow thing to feed sick ferrets. Singing can
help relax them and ease the process, so can gentle
talking. Take your time!
It is because of the aspiration risk that syringe
feeding is saved for extreme situations typically,
and why so much finger, dropper-in-front-of face,
and spoon feeding info is in the archives. We use the
"Dr. Clown Spoon Dropper" with accordion pleat top and
wide opening and have found that to be the best tool
we've encountered in our decades with ferrets. A broad
opening reduces the need to press hard enough that the
food will shoot down the throat (an inhalation risk)
Also reducing that risk is a special hand hold for
syringes learned from an article by Dr. Deb Kemmerer Cottrell.
Lay the syringe along your palm and hold it with your folded in
fingers. Use your thumb to press the plunger. It feels
awkward at first but you will find much better control results.
Do be sure to check the archives.
Sukie (not a vet)
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