Let’s face it, for the prospective first time ferret owner looking to get a ferret it’s an exciting time. It’s easy to get caught up with selecting the ferret, choosing the cage and how it will be accessorized, and even picking the perfect name for the new fuzzy. While these fun tasks are important… a question that can easily be overlooked is where will I take my ferret when for check-ups and if it gets sick?
Finding a veterinarian that knows ferrets is crucial for the health and well being of ferrets. Soon after you purchase a kit (baby) it will likely be due for the first of a series shots and a general health assessment. After that yearly check-ups are needed to keep the shots up to date and for making sure your ferret is stays healthy. Once the ferret reaches the geriatric stage at around four years of age, your vet may recommend blood work and twice yearly check-ups in an attempt to catch common diseases early when they are more treatable.
Sudden illness or accidents my also require the services of a veterinarian at any time during the year. As you can see, ferrets like other household pets such as cats and dogs, really need the expertise and services of the ferret veterinarian. Unfortunately, unlike finding a vet that has a lot of experience with cats and dogs, finding a knowledgeable ferret vet can be more difficult. One of the problems is that ferrets are a relatively new pet. It’s only been about the last 30 years that they have been kept as pets. Before that, they were primarily a working animal used for hunting and rodent control. The other problem is that there are a lot more cats and dogs than there are ferrets. Because of this there are a lot of cat and dog vets.
Finding a vet that has a lot experience treating ferrets will be harder to find in some areas. This may require calling around and possibly driving a little further than you normally would for a more traditional pet. Luckily, due to rapid growth in the number of pet ferrets the number of veterinarians that are experienced with ferrets is also growing. Also, as vets see more and more ferrets, their experience and the services they can provide are also growing. Some vet practices, although limited in number, see exotic pets only. Sorry Fido or Felix, your type are not allowed!
Since it is so important to have a good ferret vet how do you locate one? Like finding a physician, dentist or a plumber… a recommendation from someone you know is always the best. If no one you know has a ferret, take a look at the shelter and club links on this site. If any of these are located near where you live you should contact them to find out where they take their ferrets. If that does not work, you can search the Internet using “ferret veterinarian” and your town and state as search criteria. With any luck you will find that the local veterinarian has a website and routinely sees ferrets. Finally you can use your local phone book to see the veterinarians in your area, noting which if any mentions ferrets in their ad. If none of the phone book ads mention ferrets, it still would be worth a call to find out if they have any recommendations for vets that specialize in ferrets.
Having a good ferret vet for the checkups and before an emergency strikes is important for your ferret’s well being, and your peace of mind. Unfortunately, emergencies can and do happen at the most inopportune times. Namely, after normal business hours. Having a backup plan in place before problems arise is always a good idea. Make note of any 24hr animal hospitals that are nearby. Find out if they have experience with ferrets. If they do, great! If not, still keep them in mind for times when no other ferret vets nearby are open and your ferret needs immediate medical attention. In closing I just want to say how important it is to have a good ferret veterinarian for the health and well being of your pet. While the Internet is a great resource for learning about ferrets and how to take care of them. Many of the medical services required to keep a ferret healthy and happy cannot be done at home and require the professional services only a veterinarian can provide.