Ferrets & Small Mammal Care
To live long and healthy lives, all pets require special care. Just like pet dogs and cats, ferrets and pocket pets need veterinary care, balanced nutrition, human interaction, and appropriate management of their environment. Because they often live in cages or enclosed environments, even more attention must be paid to your special pets’ housing than to that of the cats and dogs who share your home. Each species of unusual mammal has its own specific needs for shelter, diet, and care. Even different types of rodents require diverse types of housing and diet. No matter the differences among them, all small mammals require both medical and surgical veterinary care. For example, your pet ferrets need vaccinations and non-breeding females must be spayed. The rabbit may require special skin care, and your guinea pig may need a unique diet. Even your pet rat may need individualized care to prevent respiratory problems.
Our veterinarians are highly skilled at treating and caring for many types of small mammals and are pleased to be able to offer care and guidance. They have exceptional experience in treating these animals and enjoy providing preventive care for pets and educational services for owners. To begin, they are available to offer advice regarding husbandry questions such as cage size, bedding, heating, and lighting. Nutritional counseling is offered for rabbits, ferrets, and pocket pets. Surgical care is provided for spaying, neutering, and dental necessities. Behavioral advice can help with non-medical problems such as loneliness, aggression, and person-pet interactions. The doctors firmly believe that preventive care helps deter disease problems from arising in small pets and will always make sure that the best routine and preventive well-care is available for your special mammals.
Health problems do arise in even the best cared-for small pets and our staff is ready and able to help these pets. Services are available for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. These services include thorough physical examinations, diagnostics such as radiographs, blood tests, skin scrapings, and biopsy of growths. Surgeries are performed for such diverse occurrences as growth removal, dental disease, and internal problems. Additionally, medications and supplements tailored to the needs of these special animals are available. Moreover, nutritional counseling is given for those pets suffering from nutritional problems, such as metabolic bone disease. Behavioral counseling is offered for animals with medical problems caused by anxiety or lack of attention.
We treat the following small mammals at Old Derby Animal Hospital:
- Pocket Pets such as—Guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters
Friendly and extremely curious, ferrets are entertaining pets that make their owners laugh. You can help your ferrets live long, healthy lives by paying attention to their unique needs. We recommend the following medical steps for your ferrets:
- First physical examination at approximately 8-10 weeks of age, or as soon as the pet enters your home, to make sure that the little one is growing properly and that no congenital problems exist. This hands-on physical is quite extensive and similar to the physical examination performed on young puppies and kittens.
- First vaccination at 8-10 weeks of age, then booster injections every 3-4 weeks until at least 15-17 weeks of age.
- First rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age or older. All ferrets require an annual vaccination to protect against rabies.
- Additional Care—In addition to vaccines, ferrets also need testing for intestinal parasites and to receive regular treatment as recommended. Moreover, heartworm prevention is started as early as possible.
- Extra Care—While ferrets need vaccinations as much as dogs and cats, they unfortunately have an increased risk of allergic reactions to vaccines. To help assure the health of your pet, we ask that you wait for 30 minutes after vaccination appointments so that we may monitor your ferret’s health. In addition, we recommend wellness examinations every six months for ferrets of all ages.