Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Loving Memory

There is Something about Mary....

Long term resident of The Ferret Inn, our beautiful Mary has passed after a long struggle with Lymphoma. Mary came to us in February of 2008 from a wildlife sanctuary where she appeared to be about five.
Ever since her arrival at "The Inn", we knew there was something special about our Mary.
With a sparse, coarse coat and an earthy smell we attempted an adrenal surgery. Early into surgery it was apparent that adrenal disease was the least of her worries and a histology was done. Sadly the diagnosis was Lymphoma, Mary began chemo shortly thereafter.

Over her year and a half with us, she underwent many different chemo treatments and had thrived despite her bouts of various infections as a side effect of the chemo. Throughout these many treatments (including acupuncture), Mary always kept her high-spirited personality and nurturing ways. She had the most wonderful gift of "cleaning up" anyone in her presence...from ear, to chin, to eyes, to nose..Mary would gently lick all the dirt away from human and animal.

Mary also held a special spot for other sick or elderly ferrets and soon became the resident nurse. She would lie down beside other ferrets and gently clean them and nurture them while they were ill. She even seemed to take special attention to ferrets who suffered from lymphoma like herself. Everyone who visited The Inn would immediately take to little Mary, as she always permitted being hugged and doted over by strangers, family and friends.

In the photo above, Mary cuddles with Blackie, another close ferret friend with lymphoma. In the photo below, Mary gives gentle re-assurance to a dying ferret endearingly known as "1722" , one of our little research gals who also had cancer.

Mary will be sorely missed by many but no one held her closer to his heart than did her sponsor of many months, her" Papa Scott". Not only did he help finance Mary' many months of medical care, but spent many hours visiting with Mary and her friends. Scott visited Mary and her friends at The Inn frequently and would sit and rock Mary to sleep.

He is shown below cradling Mary at our vet's office

Mary was a heroine among ferrets and will be missed by all.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Preventing Fleas and Ear Mites

Ferrets are susceptible to both fleas and ear mites, especially during the increasingly warm summer months.
Let's cover nasty fleas first!.
At The Ferret Inn, we have rescued ferrets infested with fleas who were extremely anemic and needed blood transfusions to save their life. Fleas literally feed off of an animals blood and flesh, leaving a two pound animal defenseless. Fleas can also carry tapeworms to your ferrets.
At The Ferret Inn, we use a flea preventative once a month called FrontLine spray. Our vet also recommends using a product called Revolution. Both of these products can be properly dosed and obtained from your ferret knowledgeable veterinarian.
Revolution can also prevent heartworms (yes, ferrets can also get heartworms from mosquitoes), and ear mites.
Ear Mites are a common pest with ferrets and can lead to ear problems if left untreated. Your ferret does not have to go outside to come in contact with either ear mites! They can live in ferret bedding, carpeting, furniture, etc. The best thing is to use a monthly preventative. We use a product called Ivermectin, which can be obtained and properly dosed be your ferret knowledgeable vet.
How can you tell if your ferret has fleas, tapeworms, or ear mites? Fleas can result in an extra itchy ferret and you should regularly use a flea comb to comb through your ferrets hair if you suspect fleas. Fleas also leave behind 'flea dirt" which looks like little tiny speckles of black in the ferrets hair close to the skin. As for ear mites, the ear wax of a ferret tends to become very dark ,almost blackish. Ear mites can be detected by a qualified vet who will do a swab sample and run it under a microscope. The presence of tapeworms, and other GI parasites can only be confirmed through a fecal sample at your vets office. Even so, it can take multiple samples for proper detection.
NEVER assume that a common dog or cat flea product can be used on a ferret. Some can be highly toxic or fatal.