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Ferret FAQ [4/5] - Health Care
Section - (9.1) Do I need to spay/neuter my pet? How about descenting? Declawing?

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Ferrets intended as pets must be neutered or spayed. Neutering
drastically reduces the odor of a male, prevents him from marking his
territory with smelly slime, and makes him less aggressive (males in
season may kill other ferrets, even females).  Spaying saves a
female's life, since once she goes into heat she will need to be bred
or she will almost certainly die of anemia.  However, many people
disagree with the common practice of performing the surgery at a very
early age, and prefer to wait until the ferret is at least six months
old and has reached nearly full size.  It should be done before the
first time the ferret would go into heat, but apart from that there's
no rush.

A female can be spayed even after she goes into heat, but if she's
been in heat for a month or more, your vet should do a blood test
before the surgery.  Females can be brought out of heat without
becoming pregnant with a hormone injection or by breeding with a
vasectomized male, either of which will lead to a false pregnancy
which will last long enough to let her be spayed.  Neither one is a
good long-term solution, though.

Breeding ferrets is difficult and time-consuming.  Before even
thinking about breeding, you should have owned ferrets for some years,
be a member of a ferret organization, and find out as much about it as
you can.  The actual mating is rather violent, and jills tend to have
problems giving birth, producing milk, and so forth.  If you're
serious about breeding, talk to someone who has first.  You'll need to
have more than one whole male available (in case your female goes into
heat when your male isn't) and more than one breeding female available
(in case you need a foster mom because your jill has milk problems) --
and be prepared to lose some or all of the kits and perhaps the mom
too.  Grim, but true.  To learn more about breeding or where to find a
good breeder, get a sample copy of the Breeder's Digest by sending
$2.75 to P.O. Box 2371, Leesburg, VA 22075.

There's debate about whether descenting ferrets is necessary or
useful, and some belief that it's harmful.  It's bad for a ferret's
health to descent it before 6 or 7 weeks of age, and it may be
somewhat harmful when done at any age.  Many people feel that the
procedure accomplishes no purpose; that is, that neutered ferrets who
aren't spraying smell the same whether or not they've been descented.
Note that, like a skunk, a ferret will use its scent if it's greatly
distressed or feeling amorous, but ferrets can't spray their scent as
effectively as a skunk, it doesn't smell as bad, and it dissipates in
just a few seconds.  How often a ferret sprays and how bad it smells
depend on the individual ferret, and different people have different
tolerances for the scent, so if given the option you may want to wait
and see if you think descenting is necessary in your particular case.

Most pet stores sell neutered and descented kits.  Many breeders sell
kits which have been neutered but not descented.

Ferrets have nails like dogs, not retractable claws like cats, and
declawing them is more difficult that it is for a cat.  I have only
ever heard of a handful of declawed ferrets; most of them are doing
well, but a few had long-term problems from the surgery.  Many people
feel very strongly that ferrets should never be declawed, and nearly
everyone agrees that declawing should be done only as a last resort,
when non-surgical solutions to the problems [5.2] have failed.  Still,
a few people support declawing, and in the end, it's a decision you
and your vet will have to make for yourselves.

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Sep 20, 2014 @ 11:11 am
how much are they worth when they have the 2 dots i am buying one and want to know befor i get it and the cage

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Top Document: Ferret FAQ [4/5] - Health Care
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