On the topic of ferret diseases, all the advice I can give is of a
preventive, rather than of a curative, nature. My experience has been
that, when a ferret is sick, it is the wisest policy to kill it
immediately, as in all my practice I have never cured a sick ferret yet.
Of course there are numerous remedies advocated by persons who claim to
“know it all”; but experiment with these is simply a waste of time and
material. The common diseases of ferrets are foot-rot, distemper,
diphtheria, and influenza. Foot-rot is caused by dirt and neglect, and
is the most common, dangerous, and devastating. It makes the feet swell
out to twice their natural size, and become spongy; the nose and snout
get dirty; the eyes commence to run, become perceptibly weaker, and
then close. The tail also changes to a sandy and gravelly texture.
Distemper is only a case of foot-rot aggravated. In influenza the nose
runs violently, and there is the same affection of the eyes, accompanied
by incessant sneezing. Diphtheria is a throat trouble, indicated by
swelling of the neck, much heavy coughing, and nearly the same other
accompaniments as the above diseases. To prevent disease, cleanliness
and moderation are the simple antidotes: this is not such a hard thing
to accomplish, as the ferret is a strong animal for its size, and very
cleanly itself. Ferrets are sometimes run down by overwork in hunting,
and get to be dull and sluggish; but they will soon regain their vigor,
by letting them rest for awhile, and giving them plenty of food. Pure
air, fresh, raw, bloody meat, and good milk, will soon bring the ferrets
back to their natural state inside of a week.
Ferrets are sometimes troubled with fleas of a large size, that use the
animals up greatly if they are not checked immediately. A little Sure
Pop Insect Powder rubbed in dry with the hand will settle the insects
effectively in a very short time.
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