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Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 8:39 AM
Hey guys, right now one of my ferrets is not acting his normal self. He isn't getting up to do anything.

My best guess is a stomach ache. or a diet related thing. My mom is very stubborn and insists on feeding them fruit as treats. But I repeatedly tell her not to. She just told me she thinks it could be insulin related.

According to her this happened suddenly and once before. The first time he was limping and suddenly recovered. He was running around and playing yesterday

Do any of you have experience with this? Thanks.

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Re:Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 8:47 AM
Could you provide more details?
If you get him up, will he walk?
Is he peeing/pooping normal?
Is he interested in eating/drinking?
Is he running a fever, vomiting?
You need to be very firm with your Mom about treating with
fruit.  Ferrets lack a Caecum and therefor can't process fruits
and vegetables.  There is also the risk of creating a blockage
due to ingesting these things.  If that wasn't bad enough, there
is a potential link between eating sweet treats and Insulinoma.

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Re:Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:10 AM
He is only walking a tiny bit. But still is weak

The pee and poop looks normal

He wasn't eating earlier, but I made a blend of boiled egg white, ferret food (Zupreme), water, and a little ferretone, which he has been eating.

No fever, vomiting or diarrhea. He seems to be doing a better than an hour ago.

Yeah, I thought about a blockage. My said that she didn't feed them any fruits with skin. When she gives them fruit, she usually gives them banana chopped really small. 

Is there a safe source of digestible sugar if he has a crash again, if it is insulinoma?


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Re:Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:47 AM
The clear syrup you buy is what we keep on hand
I can't think of the name of it ,but we use it to rub on there
gum's when that happens to us .that is what are vet told us to
do before when it happened.
   Hope thing's work out and the little one feel's better soon.

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Re:Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:57 AM
Karo syrup.  Keep on hand, as nippygus wrote, use it to rub on gums.

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Re:Weak ferret - Sunday, June 13, 2010 3:48 PM
fruits (and vegy's) as treats are a big no-no for ferres!!  blockages are an issue as is the fact that they can't digest the stuff anyhoo, so, why bother? 
now, if it's just been banana, and mushed, that's not so bad from a blockage point.  actually, banana and pumpkin are used to help move blockages through the system, so, all in all, not all that bad.  if she's been giving apple pieces (or some other hard fruit) too, that's a whole other story!   and may still be an issue and you'll need to have a talk with mom to find out just what she has been giving the ferrets!!  go back a whole year, too.  any hard fruits could be stuck and sometimes things get stuck and then come loose again, so, this could still be a blockage issue - even from something given a year ago!  i'd have the vet take a look at the little one, too, to rule a blockage out.
how old is the ferret??  at/over age 3 then insulinoma might be the problem - maybe even if it's younger if fruits have been a steady part of the diet.
for insulinoma crashes, rub a dab of the clear karo syrup (size of a pea) on the gums.  wait 10-15 minutes for the ferret to start responding and then feed a high protein meal.  pure maple syrup can also be used.  basically any kind of syrup as long as it doesn't have flavorings in it.
other signs of insulinoma are: lethargy (sleeping a lot, speed-bump a lot, not playful), losing weight even though eating, staring off into space in a daze, glassy-look to eyes and/or have that squinty look to them, drooling, excessive licking-the-chops, runny poo, walking funny - back legs weak, stumbling, walking off to the side or in circles.   edit:  shivering is also a symptom.
if the ferret is showing any of these signs, then you need to get it to the vet for a check of the blood glucose level.  under 80 is borderline; under 70 is definite for insulinoma.  treatment is easy enough with meds and some dietary changes.
prednisolone given 2x daily and modify the diet to remove grains.  all if you can and if that's not workable, then move to a kibble with less grains (and definitely NO corn) in it.  and supplement the diet with high-protein meals - homemade gravy or soupies at least 2x a day.  the pred should be given with food (it's hard on the stomach), so, i do it the easy way and mix the meds with the gravy.  they get the food in their tummy to protect it and the meds (which taste a bit nasty) aren't as obvious and it's not a fight to get it into them.
tell mom 'no more fruit for the ferrets'!!!!!
*edit to add something to symptoms list*
<message edited by joclyn on Sunday, June 13, 2010 3:49 PM>

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Re:Weak ferret - Monday, June 14, 2010 11:00 AM
I was told that raisins were okay to give occasionally.  Is that not true?

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Re:Weak ferret - Monday, June 14, 2010 11:15 AM
My ferret was having a similar problem recently, (very lethargic) and when I took her to the vet they found out she was anemic. So you might want to have him tested for that as well. Inslulinoma is also a possibility.
But, please avoid feeding them any kinds of fruits or vegetables, as they are natural carnivores and can't easily process those other types of food.
They seem to do best on a straight meat diet. For treats, I give my ferret pieces of cooked beef, pork, chicken, or whatever kind of meat we happen to be cooking that day.
I even gave her a bit of raw squirrel meat once, from a fresh roadkill squirrel, and she loved it. (Just be careful when feeding raw meat, make sure it is extremely fresh, and don't feed raw organs because they can have worms)
 Anyway, until you can get him to the vet, stop giving him fruits (even if your mother insists -- tell her its for the ferrets own health!) and give him high protien moist food or cooked meat if he will not eat the dry kibble.

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Re:Weak ferret - Monday, June 14, 2010 1:33 PM
No raisins and grapes are not okay, aside from the blockage hazzard they contain things that give ferrets, cats and dogs kidney failure, and death.
  Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

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Re:Weak ferret - Monday, June 14, 2010 6:09 PM
as stated above, raisins (and grapes) have compounds in them that are poisonous to ferrets and dogs (and cats, too, i think), and there's the potential blockage issue.  so, that's a no.
treats that consist of cooked meats are fine; as are bits of raw meat.  actually, feeding a raw and/or prey diet is the best you can do for the ferrets since they are obligate carnivores and can not digest grains, fruits, vegy's (they have no cecum). 
roadkill should never be given as you don't know exactly what killed it (could have been diseased rather than just accidentally hit). 
meat & organs from game animals that have been hunted can be given raw - AFTER the meat has been frozen for at least a month to kill any parasites that might be present. 
meat & organs you purchase that you would cook/eat yourself can be given to the ferrets raw.  these are farm-raised animals, so, parasites and diseases aren't really an issue and giving it raw to the ferrets is safe to do as long as the basic safe-handling conditions have been kept up.
and then there are the companies that raise animals specifically to provide a raw meat or prey diet - perfectly safe to feed the stuff raw.  most of that is frozen - either fresh (which needs defrosted before giving) or freeze-dried (which is fed as is).

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Re:Weak ferret - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:13 AM
So you know, I don't typically feed roadkill -- however, in the case of that squirrel I saw it get hit, and picked it up right away, so I definitely knew the cause of death and it was really, really fresh. And yes, I did freeze it before giving it to her. I forgot to mention that in my last post.
 I've heard though that you still shouldn't feed them wild game organs even if they've been froze, because some parasites can survive freezing? I'm not sure if thats just a myth though, but I didn't want to risk it.

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