The following is not meant to replace examination and treatment by a qualified veterinarian. This information is only intended to give the ferret owner tips on things to watch out for, and suggest some over the counter medications that the owner may wish to keep on hand should they be recommended by the veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian at the first sign of illness or injury and follow his/her instructions carefully in the use of any treatments land/or medications.
What to look for in a vet for your ferret – The ferret owner should look for a veterinarian more carefully than they would for their personal or family physician. At least the physician has seen and worked with humans before they have set up their practice. Many veterinarians are not at all familiar with the ferret; the ferret being relatively new to the pet scene in many parts of the country.
Hopefully, if you look around your community and in neighboring communities you will find a veterinarian who has experience with the ferret and their special needs. You might ask the vet what his experience with ferrets is and how many s/he has treated over the past year. If you are not sure of where to look for a ferret-knowledgeable vet, check out the ferret shelter links at http://www.ferretcentral.org. There you will find shelters listed by state and country. If you can find one near you, give them a call and ask whom they would recommend.
If you have a choice in veterinarians, find out if the vet has an after-hours emergency service. Ferrets always seem to get sick or injured late at night, well after the normal vet hours. You don’t want look for a vet office that is open when your ferret’s life is on the line.
Does the vet have reasonable office hours? A vet that is only at the local clinic once or twice a week may be fine for vaccinations and check-ups, but what will you do during an emergency or illness when they are not there? ,
What about surgery? Compare rates of typical surgeries and treatments. You might be very surprised at the differences in charges, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars. Some vets charge a stiff premium for “exotic” animals, which a ferret is definitely not. Then again, a relatively high fee may be due to the special equipment that the vet keeps on hand for ferrets and other small animals. Ask questions.
Does the vet require that you sign a statement to the effect that, if your ferret bites someone during the treatment they will have the right to seize your ferret and have it tested (translate that as “killed and beheaded”) for rabies? If so, run, don’t walk out the door and find another vet. It’s obvious that they are not really familiar with ferrets.
Finally, just observe how they act with your ferret. I’ve seen some vets and their assistants look positively uncomfortable holding or even being near a ferret. Also observe how your ferret reacts with the vet. Does he seem unusually uncomfortable or fearful?
Pick a vet for your ferret as if his life depends on it. It does.
Topics: the ferret manual