A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hairballs in Ferrets

So - ferrets get hairballs and I am pretty certain that is what is going on with Bash.  Both he and Fiona have extremely long fluffy hair.  Hairballs can actually be quite dangerous in ferrets if left unchecked.  Cats usually expel them by leaving you a lovely juicy hairball but ferrets don't typically throw them up.  If they get really bad they can get stuck in the digestive track and get bigger and bigger making a complete blockage.  Some ferrets have the blood supply to their intestines cut off and some actually die.  So - needless to say - we are taking this seriously.

The good news is that Bash has an appetite, is drinking and even though he is less active he is not what I would call lethargic.  I have been supplement-ally feeding him a couple of times a day just to make sure enough food is going in.  Today I have Bash downstairs with me.  I have him in the bottom of Harlow's cage with a blanket blocking access so the two of them are separated.  I wanted to keep him close by so I could make sure he didn't have any issues and in particular to make sure he was still going potty and that he wasn't experiencing any kind of blockage.

This morning he was a little bit hacky - which is a tell tale sign of hairballs.  I gave him a bit of honey in his ferretone to start with.  Honey is an antihistamine and opens up the bronchials. You have to give honey very sparingly as sugar is not great for ferrets and can cause them to develop insulinoma.  This was his first ever dose.  It made me chuckle thinking of Clooney who LOVED honey.  When he was younger he knew I kept it in the pantry and he would stand in front of the pantry door and fake a hacking noise...silly boy.  Anyway - Bash didn't like straight honey but once I mixed it with ferretone it was all good.  That seemed to quiet the hacking and then a few hours later we did a bit of ferretone and some hairball medicine.  He had some lunch and some more hairball meds.  He has gone potty twice - both look normal.  No hacking at all since this morning.  I am thinking he is doing better.

He has been quite active in the cage - playing in the paper fluff -- right now he is napping.  I will see how I think he is later tonight.  If there is any indication of a blockage I will take him in immediately - so far no signs of that - fingers crossed.

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