By Mary Van Dahm
Once again we would like to remind ferret owners of common household dangers that can be fatal to your pet. Household cleaners: Fantastic, Lysol, and many other pine scented cleaners, can be extremely toxic to ferrets. It doesn’t take much either! We recently had a ferret brought into the shelter was experiencing convulsions. The owner had cleaned the cage with Lysol and apparently had not rinsed it thoroughly enough. Of two ferrets involved, one had already died and the other was holding on by a thread. Unfortunately, in spite of veterinary care, the second ferret didn’t make it through the night, either.
Another group of innocent looking killers are empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. They can be a lot of fun for ferrets who love to push them around, but some ferrets get their heads stuck inside and choke to death. We had some friends stop by a couple weeks ago who brought one of their ferrets along with them in a carrier. When I went to take the ferret out to say hello, I was greeted by a frantic little guy with a toilet paper roll stuck on his head! Fortunately he was fine after we got the roll off.
Ironically we received the Central Arizona Ferret Club’s newsletter a couple of days later and one of their members had the same thing happen – with tragic results.
Another problem that has been showing up in our shelter is ferrets eating Styrofoam packing “peanuts”. Usually small pieces will pass through the intestines with the stool, but sometimes they don’t – resulting in a blockage. Also, we don’t know how the chemicals in the plastic will affect the ferrets stomach and intestines. I know that ferrets who eat rubber bands often develop severe eosinophylitis – inflammation of the intestines – and ulcers. There is a possibility that Styrofoam can do the same.
So, PLEASE… Supervise your ferrets with new toys and try to foresee any dangers that might arise from even the most innocent circumstances. I know we can’t always outguess our little friends, but we have to keep trying.