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Identifying and Treating Heat Stroke In Ferrets

Identifying and Treating Heat Stroke In Ferrets
 

Every year the members of the Victorian Ferret Society warn ferret owners of the dangers of heat stroke occurring in ferrets during the warmer months. This year we aim to help you to recognize heat-stroke in your ferret and to deal with it effectively.

Symptoms:

  • Severe lethargy (A very tired ferret who is hard to rouse from sleep and are then slow and wobbly on their feet)
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Erratic breathing
  • Hot body with cool/cold paws
  • Glassy eyes
  • Dehydrated coat (when you twist the fur in a gentle pinch on the ferret’s back it should spring back easily. a coat which is dried out will not spring back.)

Things you must NEVER do to a ferret suffering from heat stroke:

Do not immerse the ferret in water – This will cause the ferret to go into shock which can cause death.

Do not give the ferret Cold water to drink – This may also cause shock.

Initial Action you CAN do at home before seeing a Vet:

Give the ferret a lukewarm solution of Di-Vetelact, Bio Lac or lactose free milk with a small amount of Nutripet or Nutrigel added. This is easiest administered with a teaspoon or a 3ml syringe.
Offer only one dose at a time – approx 3ml – 5 ml every 10 minutes.
Wipe the ferret down with a damp face washer to help draw the heat away from their body’s core.

If the ferret’s paws are cool or cold, gently rub them to help bring the circulation back to the extremities. Continue to monitor the temperature of the ferret’s paws as they are a good indicator of a recovering circulation.

Allow the ferret to walk around, this will help to improve their circulation and allow you to see any improvement. If your ferret starts to show signs of increased activity and alertness, continue to offer liquids for a further hour constantly monitoring their condition for signs of improvement or deterioration. If your ferret’s condition deteriorates or is NOT showing signs of improvement within an hour, your ferret is likely to need medical care from the staff at your nearest Vet Clinic or hospital.

As Always, if you are unsure of what to do, or cannot follow the advice above, contact your ferret friendly Vet for professional medical advice.

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