Taking in Rescues
When taking in a new ferret from somewhere other than a ferret shelter:
With Mass Ferret Friends, and other shelters, full to capacity and not able to take ferrets in we do appreciate the loving people and families that offer to open up their homes and take “one more ferret in”. With the increase of ferrets needing a new home, MaFF would like to extend a few things to keep in mind to protect yourself and any other ferrets you may have in your home. Whether you take one in from our “Looking for a forever home” or off of Craig’s List, please consider the following information.
First, any ferret adopted directly through MaFF will have been: quarantined, vet checked and received their rabies and distemper vaccinations. We have adoption fees. We will list them in our “Looking for a Forever” album or on our website and will state they are our ferrets. All other ferrets listed are done as a complimentary service and the ferret is not in our care nor has he been seen by our vets.
Things to keep in mind:
If you decide you are interested in a ferret insist on meeting the ferret. If up to date with vaccinations bring along one or two of yours to do a meet and greet to make sure they get along. Not all ferrets like other ferrets. If the ferret you are meeting isn’t up to date you may want to consider leaving yours at home.
Check the ferret over, look for signs of:
- Mass Cell Tumors
- Any bites, cuts or open wounds (especially if the ferret was found outside)
- Fleas and Ticks
- Shallow or difficulty breathing (can indicate heart and or respiratory problems)
Ask about medical history and past vet care. Get copies of any and all paperwork to give to your vet. If there is no medical history assume you will need to do all vaccinations along with the distemper booster. Check with your vet, most will do rabies, followed by a distemper shot about 2 weeks later followed by a booster 3 weeks after that.
If you decide to bring the ferret into your home consider quarantining him for at least 10 days (AFA recommends 14 days). If open cuts and/or found outside you may want to extend the period to 21 days. Make a vet appointment right away. Many shelters have ended up with a distemper outbreak because proper protocol wasn’t followed. It only takes 1 infected ferret.
Even if you adopt from the MSPCA, keep in mind they only vaccinate for rabies. You will still have to do distemper with your vet.
Quarantining your new ferret allows you to monitor him for at least 10 days and for him to get used to smells and sounds at his new home. Watch for shelter shock, which can occur from the first day up to 3 weeks later. Sometimes the excitement of a new place fades away and the ferret begins to realize they aren’t going “home”. Keep in mind, even if you rescued him from a bad situation, he may still go through shelter shock. Why you ask? Because to the ferret, no matter how bad or filthy or abusive the situation was that he was removed from, it is what he knew. What he knew and was familiar with offers him a level of comfort, with that gone he will begin to get depressed, refuse to eat and interact and just want to sleep. Sometimes, they will themselves to go.
Signs of shelter shock can be:
- Showing no interest in food or water
- Not having any interest to interact with you or other ferrets
- Curling up in the back corner of their cage, if removed going right to a dark corner and curling up.
- Grinding their teeth, mouth ulcers
- Dark, sticky poops (possible ulcer)
If you notice any or a combination of these contact your vet right away. If your vet isn’t readily available reach out to us or a ferret specific group on Facebook, there are many that have gone through it and can offer help until you can get to your vet. Vet care will be needed, so don’t delay.
Again, we are happy that you have considered taking in a new ferret while MaFF and other shelters are full, just please be careful and keep all the furry ones safe.
American Ferret Association’s link on “Quarantine! Precautions to take”:www.ferret.org/pdfs/education/quarantine.pdf