Guest Post by Michael Hearing
Ferrets make great pets, but, as we’ve mentioned before, pet ferrets are fairly high-maintenance critters. Part of that maintenance involves frequent vet visits because ferrets are prone to several health issues. It is very important, then, that you choose a vet who is knowledgeable about, experienced in, and equipped for proper ferret care.
Here, for example, is what happened the first time Karen took her fuzzy kids, Rikki and Possum, to the vet.
We called a trusted vet we had used several times before with our dogs and cats and made an appointment. But when we (and Karen’s woozles) arrived at the vet’s office, we didn’t get to see Dr. M. Instead, we saw a young woman who was just six months out of vet school.
Now, she was friendly, easy to talk to, and generally knowledgeable about veterinarian matters, and she was a pleasure to deal with. But she had very little experience with ferrets – which she was up front about. This brand-new vet couldn’t answer many of our questions about ferret health. So Rikki and Possum got a general exam and their vaccinations and no more. We went home to research answers to our questions on ferret care and ferret health on our own.
In Ferrets for Dummies (which we consult often) Kim Schilling emphasizes the need to ask a lot of questions before you choose a vet – and not to just assume they know about ferret care, as we did. Schilling says: “Questions are your best tools. A good, professional veterinarian and staff will recognize your valid concerns and won’t hesitate to answer your questions as completely as possible.”
Schilling recommends that you ask at least a few basic questions before choosing a vet so that you can find out:
- How long the vet has been practicing ferret medicine and how many pet ferrets he or she generally treats in typical day, week, or month
- The vet’s experience with diagnosing and treating common ferret diseases
- Whether the clinic stocks plenty of ferret vaccinations (e.g., USDA-approved rabies vaccine)
- Fees for check-ups, examinations, and vaccinations
- Whether the facility is equipped to house (overnight or even longer) ferrets that may require hospitalization
- The vet’s level of experience in handling both routine surgeries (such as spaying and neutering) and more involved surgeries (such as tumor removal and adrenal-related surgeries)
- What kind of continuing education the vet uses to stay abreast of recent developments in ferret medicine and the latest in surgical techniques
So, choose a vet for you fuzzy kids wisely. You wouldn’t take your other children to just any old doctor, would you?
For more information on ferret health and ferret care, see Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.