No ferret owner wants to think of the day when their beloved fuzzy gets sick….let alone frantically searching for a vet in the middle of a life threatening situation. However, it’s your responsibility to find and give quality medical care when needed. Having a knowledgeable ferret veterinarian in your area could mean saving the life of your ferret in an emergency situation as well as providing a lifetime of reliable medical care.
Before you bring your ferret home, do some digging in your area for a well qualified ferret veterinarian. Since ferrets are considered exotic pets, be prepared to do some searching. Ask for referrals and recommendations from other veterinarians, pet stores, shelters, breeders, ferret groups, as well as other ferret owners. Use the yellow pages in your local phonebook, do an online search or you can also access the American Ferret Association’s Member Veterinarians database at http://www.ferret.org/links/vets.html or the Ferret Vet Zip Code Locator at http://www.ferrethealth.org/vets/
Now that you’ve found some candidates to treat your furry ones, the interview begins. Just because a vet says they treat ferrets, they may only feel comfortable giving vaccines or doing routine procedures, such as spays and neuters. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find a more experienced vet who can do complicated surgeries or be able to handle diseases and ailments that unfortunately these little guys get in their lifetime. Don’t be afraid to test their knowledge! I’ve compiled a list of sample questions to assist you in finding the perfect vet. Please feel free to tailor them to your specific needs. Ask away friends!
1) Do you treat ferrets?
2) How long have you been treating ferrets?
3) Currently, how many patients of yours include ferrets?
4) Do you attend annual vet symposiums for continued education relating to ferrets?
5) Do you feel comfortable doing annual exams as well as more difficult surgeries?
6) Are you available for emergencies or can you recommend an after-hours clinic?
7) What are your office hours?
8) What are your general fees for ferret care?
9) What are your treatment plans for Adrenal, Lymphoma, and Insulinoma diseases? (as these afflict ferrets most commonly)
Generally, you will get a gut feeling of your interaction with each of your candidates. From their candor and knowledge, you will be able to deduce a good veterinarian. However, don’t wait until your ferret is sick before you see a vet! Ferrets require annual exams, as well as yearly vaccinations of distemper and rabies. Your vet will also check for other signs of illness and/or suggest blood tests as they get older. At the first sign of illness, get your ferret to the veterinarian. These lovable little creatures can deteriorate quickly, so don’t wait to get them medical attention. Remember a happy ferret is a healthy ferret.
Paula Woodland, shelter operator of Ferret Haven of Spokane and Darcy Wilson, shelter volunteer, both strongly recommend Dr. Sledge of Peone Pines Veterinary Hospital in Mead. Paula has been seeing Dr. Sledge for the past 8 years and she states that what she likes most about her vet is “How much she cares about my pets. She sobbed with me when I had to put Mac down.” Darcy, who also highly recommends Dr. Sledge because of “how much she knows about ferrets. That seems to be a rare thing around here. Besides that, everybody that works there is very compassionate.”
Dr. Patricia Sledge
VCA Peone Pines Veterinary Hospital
14717 Newport Highway
Mead, WA. 99021
Phone: (509) 466-7115
Fax: (509) 468-8044