Post by brittles888 on Feb 17, 2014 3:27:37 GMT -5
Hello! I am currently waiting a mentor but wanted to start the switch in the mean time as I have everything I need now and feel like it might still be a little while until I am assigned someone. So, I just weighed them and will start attempting to do raw soup tomorrow!
First report 2/16/14
1. Ferret's name: Zin 2. Ferret's weight: 2 lbs 6 ozs (1076 g) 3. Ferret has eaten "X" amount on average per meal. He currently eats Origin Cat and Kitten Formula, and Orijen Adult Dog Formula. I'm not sure how much he eats, as his bowl in his cage is just kept full and he grazes at the dogs food when he's out playing. 4. Stools on various proteins. I suspect he might have IBD, as he has consistently seedy looking poop, light brown. 5. Activity levels: High. He is very hyper and wild when he is awake and playing. 6. Weekly menu: Until now, kibble.
1. Ferret's name: Lola 2. Ferret's weight: 1lb 10oz (740 g) 3. Ferret has eaten "X" amount on average per meal. Same as Zin. See above. 4. Stools on various proteins. Her stool is consistently dark brown and smooth. 5. Activity levels: Low. She is mellow, sleeps much more than Zin. Seems a little out of it when she's awake. Does have short bursts of hard play but not as frequent and long as Zin. 6. Weekly menu:Until now, kibble.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 17, 2014 23:24:38 GMT -5
I just made the soup! I came back here to refresh how to scruff and feed. Fingers crossed they will like it! This is the first time they have had any food like this. They have only had kibble until now.
I'm learning more about the ferrets every day. (They weren't a planned pet, I just took in a ferret that was about to be homeless spur of the moment about a year ago-Lola. I loved her so much, I wanted a second and rescued Zin out of the animal shelter in Juneau a few months later.) They are both 2 years old.
Heather, what is BG? A test? They actually have not been to the vet yet. I live in remote Alaska and there is no vet here. A traveling vet comes through every few months but none of them will see ferrets. I finally found one up in the Yukon that sees ferrets, and I was planning on getting them in for a full checkup when the weather got a little nicer. (I get nervous driving the road in the winter unless it's an absolute emergency. It takes about 3 hours in the snow and goes through mountains and if you run off the road its cold enough it could kill you. There's no cell service on the drive, and the road doesn't have a lot of traffic. Avalanches often close the road for days around this time of year, and there are often animals on the road.) So ya, I avoid driving to Whitehorse unless it's an emergency in the winter. I go often in the summer though.
The no close vet thing really sucks sometimes. I actually just lost my beloved dog Toby a few weeks ago. He got sick in the evening, and I thought of driving him to the vet but the road reports said black ice along the highway and it was getting dark. I decided to see how he was doing by morning and drive him to Whitehorse or fly him to Juneau if he was still feeling ill. He went DOWNHILL right after the border shut down for the night. (They close 11pm to 7 am, and no planes fly at night, so there is NO WAY to get out of town. If you are a person in a medical emergency you can get a 30 minute $25,000 flight to the hospital but there are no options for pets.) I spent the entire night awake with him, comforting him, watching him deteriorate, internally bleeding to death, unable to do ANYTHING. I kept praying he could make it till morning...he died in my arms one hour before the border opened. :*( I still don't know what happened to him. He just suddenly got sick and then was pooping large amounts of blood. It was horrible. I worry about this stuff with the ferrets, if they ever got a blockage or anything or there was an accident. There's nothing I can do about it except for move to a different town though, so it is what it is.
I took a picture a few weeks ago when I signed up on the mentoring forum and posted them there. I'll take another one right now too and post it here. I have all the information about them on the waiting for a mentor thread. Actually, I'll just go cut and paste my questions and answers so they are on here too.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 17, 2014 23:35:55 GMT -5
They have had one medical issue, unrelated to digestion. I just realized about a month ago both ferrets were infested with ear mites. There's really no way they could have gotten them in my house, so they both had them when I got them, which means they had them for a year. I've been treating them with first olive oil in the ears and then thornit powder. (I read about these remedies on here.) When I first realized Lola had them, I noticed her ear seemed totally plugged with black. (I had been cleaning their ears since I got them, but only took a q-tip on the very outside part and didn't notice the black inside until that day.) I put some ear cleaner in her ear and the black plug came out. She seemed sad, and kept pawing at her ear shortly after that happened, so I took a flashlight and tried to get a look deeper in her ear and her ear WAS COMPLETELY FULL, FULL, FULL OF MITES. It's making my whole body itch thinking about it again. I didn't realize what I was seeing at first (like, there was no canal visible, it was completely full of tiny white moving dots). It made me cry, and I felt like the worst ferrent in the world. I honestly just didn't know...I've never dealt with mites with any other pets, and they never acted like their ears bothered them, and the black stuff never was visible. And I think they must have been cleaning the outside of each others ears too.) :**( I ordered the thornit powder that night and started cleaning the ear canal with oil twice a day while I waited for it. That first day I could see the mites all over the tissue I was using to wipe the oil out. I've done a complete laundry of the areas they sleep in twice since then. And after a week of oil I did a week of Thornit powder. I ended up getting a othoscope, so I can see deep in the ear there is still what looks like a black plug at the very end of the canal, but it's getting smaller and smaller. I want the vet's help checking it all out when I finally get them in for complete checkups soon. I wondered if her ears being completely full of mites like that since I had her affected the way she acted or messed up her ear drums (she's so mellow and spacy and such. Her first owner was a huge pot head so my boyfriend always teased that she got permanently stoned by living with him. Poor thing.) Anyway, that's the only major health problem I've dealt with that I'm aware of, besides Zin's seedy poop. Anyway, I'll cut and paste my answers now and go attempt the first feeding!
Post by brittles888 on Feb 17, 2014 23:41:13 GMT -5
Ok, here is the cut and paste of my answers for the waiting for a mentor forum, so all the information is together.
Name: Brittney Thomas HF Forum Username:brittles888
1. Where did you first learn about natural diets for ferrets?
From Holistic Ferret Forum! When I got my first ferret a little over a year ago, I didn't know anything about taking care of them and what they can and can't eat. (I was asked if I wanted a ferret from someone who was about to move to Hawaii, so it was very sudden.) I was searching online for what the best kibble for a ferret was, and what type of stuff they can and can't eat. This forum popped up in my search and I have learned so much from it ever since. (And boy am I grateful for its existence.)
2. Please describe the type of diet you would like assistance in switching your ferret(s) to. Be sure to include if you are interested in feeding whole prey (live or frozen-thawed) and if you are wanting to FULLY switch to a natural diet or PARTIALLY. If you are unsure what kind of diet you want to put your ferrets on, please express that and we can help you find the best type of natural diet for your ferret.
I want assistance switching them so soup and then frankenprey to start, and then possibly moving on to whole prey. I'm unsure about live prey, but perhaps. I just want to take it one step at a time for now. I want to fully switch them. I also have dogs, and I want to fully switch the dogs too. So all my animals are being fed a raw natural diet.
3. Why are you interested in switching your ferrets to a natural diet?
Because from what I've read, it is the best food choice, and I want them to be healthy. If they are healthy, hopefully they will live longer and and have fewer vet bills. I want them to live a long healthy life.
4. Do you understand that switching your ferret to a natural diet can be a lengthy, arduous process? Its not an overnight switch. It can be a commitment of several weeks or even months. Your HF Mentor will be more then happy to assist you in switchng your ferret(s) to a natural diet, but you need to be equally as commited. If you aren't willing to tough out a potentially lengthy switching process, or if you have major life changes approaching (baby on the way, moving, starting school, getting married/divorced, etc) then it might be a better idea to wait on switching your ferret's diet until you have more time. Are you willing to make the commitment?
Yes. I'm hoping mine aren't difficult, but we will see. I work seasonally so I'm unemployed in the winter. I will continue to be unemployed until May, so this is the perfect time.
5. How many ferrets do you currently have? What are their names? Ages? Genders? Do they have any health problems? Are they overweight? Underweight? How long have you had each ferret for?
I have 2 ferrets, both rescued. Lola is a 2 year old female. She is a really small ferret with normal weight as far as I can tell. (I had pet rats too when I first got the ferrets-the rats have since passed-but Lola isn't much bigger than my larger rat was.) She has no health problems that I know of (besides some ear mite issues I am currently trying to nip in the bud with home remedies.)
Zin is a 2 year old male ferret. Zin is maybe just a tad overweight. He's put on a little weight this winter. But not fat by any means. Zin has much more energy than Lola and seems brighter and more aware, but he has seedy poop a lot. My ferrets haven't been to a vet yet (I live in a small town in Alaska with no vet) but I recently was recommended a ferret vet in Whitehorse, Yukon, a two hour drive north of me. Once the weather gets nicer, both ferrets will be going in for an exam, and I'll inquire about his poop. He possibly has IBD. I do have to say, I feed them Orijen cat formula, and Orijen recently changed their formula. When I switched bags Zin's seedy poop got better. It's not as seedy as it was previously. I wrote them and found out they took out the potato that was the starch in the old formula. It made a difference with him. It's still slightly seedy though, sometimes worse than others.
I got Lola last November, so I've had her for a year and two months. I instantly wanted a second ferret, and watched Petfinder until a ferret went into the Juneau animal shelter. Zin ended up in the shelter three months later in February, and I adopted him immediately, so I've had him a little less than a year. I've been watching and waiting for a third to arrive in the shelter.
6. What diet do you currently feed your ferrets? (Please include all treats, supplements, etc) Do they already eat some form of soup?
The ferrets eat Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula. They also sneak a little bit of dog kibble when they are out and about and that is Orijen Adult Formula for dogs. They get ferrettone I'm using up as well as olive oil for a treat. I also have a few bags of Marshalls bandit treats. I bought them when I didn't know better. About once a week or so I will let them each have one. No soup yet, but I got all the ingredients finally today.
7. Have you ever tried to switch your ferrets to a natural diet in the past? If yes, what happened?
No, I have not. I have tried to give them little pieces of meat or fish, and they always turn their nose up at it. Even when put in their mouth they spit it out.
8. What additional information about yourself or your ferrets would you like to share?
The only thing I can think of is that I live somewhere that does not have access to a lot of stuff, and only has a very tiny very basic grocery store, so I'm really going to have to plan ahead with this diet, and I need to make sure I have the proper supplements on hand in case I ever run out of heart or other organs and have to wait for more or anything like that. I can ask the grocery to special order heart but it will take a few weeks to arrive. (Like it just did. But I have quite a bit right now.)
9. How often during the week do you have access to a computer?
10. Please post a picture of each of your ferrets (if possible).
I will attempt to attach the pics I took below.
11. Have you met the requirements for this program? Do you have your scale, a place to access meats, hearts, livers, etc?
I have a kitchen scale, but it's pretty dinky and only goes up to 1 pound. I ordered a new digital 12 pound scale that goes in grams and ounces two days ago from Amazon prime, it's en route. It should arrive in the next two days. I have all the meats I need right now, including several extra packages of the hard to find ones in the freezer. I just need to get started and realize how much I will need on a regular basis so I can make sure my grocery store orders it special for me in time. Once I get this down and realize what I need, I want to pre-prepare all the meals and freeze them so I can know exactly where I stand and know when I need to ask for more to be ordered. If push came to shove, I could drive two hours to Whitehorse, Yukon and look in their stores, or call to stores in Juneau and see if any of them carrying heart could put some on a small plane for me. I have been saving egg shells for weeks now and have quite a bit saved up.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 18, 2014 0:24:45 GMT -5
So, first attempt at soup...went...ok. I tried giving some to Lola first. She wouldn't lick it off my finger so I lightly scruffed her and rubbed some on her gums when she yawned. SO WEIRD, she totally took my whole finger tip into her mouth and started gnawing on it! Instinct?? She has never done that with my finger before. (I let them lick oil off of my hands all the time.) She continued to lick the soup off my finger, probably consuming a few teaspoons of it, then got all squirmy and wanted out of my lap. She ran and hid with a mouth full of the soup, and ate it in the corner, then ran off to explore.
I grabbed Zin, and he was much more difficult. He was already in wild ferret mode, so he wouldn't really let me hold him at all. I finally got him to hold still for a moment and I got some soup in his mouth and he wasn't having it at first. The second try, he licked a little more off my finger, and then shook his head and spat like it was something weird in his mouth. I let him run off for a few minutes, then mixed a little of his favorite oil in the soup and tried again. He took a few licks, but each time acted like I was putting something really weird into his mouth. He fought his way out of my arms twice and ran into a corner to "chew" on the bite of soup I had just given him. It's weird he went to hide and eat his bites, and Lola did that as well. When they eat the dogs food, they always grab a piece of kibble then run off into the corner and eat it. They were acting like that with the bites of soup. I didn't get much into Zin, maybe a teaspoon full, before he'd had enough. I left a plate with some soup and ferretone on it in their cage where their normal kibble bowl normally goes. They haven't touched it yet though. When they wake up, I'll attempt more feeding and see what happens.
I took their kibble away hours before I attempted to give them soup. I haven't put it back yet. Should I? Since they didn't eat very much? Or is it better to have them hungry and try feeding them more soup when they wake up? Also, the soup is pretty thick. Would it be better if it were thinner? (It's prob the consistency of runny applesauce right now.)
Oh, they're cute wee ones. They appear in good shape. I'm sorry about the mites though. Do you have other pets in the household because they will now be infected too, particularly any cats. She may have some permanent damage to the oratory canal but I'm concerned about a lower BG (Blood Glucose) reading. Think diabetes, it's not it's called insulinoma (your reading homework for the day )I would certainly bring that up when you get them to a vet. You're really going to have to do your homework considering the remoteness of your area. You're going to have a scary learning curve. We will help you all we can. I would strongly suggest that you get together a ferret first aid kit. Get your vet to teach you how to sub q fluids if you don't already know how and get the vet to help you put together an emergency kit. I believe we have a thread about this somewhere on the forum. I think you did very well with your first try at soupy. Ferrets are very private about their food. You may want to set up a feeding den (a simple cardboard box with a hole cut into it will do) so they can eat in private. Keep at it and keep us posted ciao
Post by goingpostal on Feb 18, 2014 16:08:07 GMT -5
That's a pretty normal first start, you did good! I wouldn't water it down, that would just move you backwards, just keep offering a little like you are 3-4 times a day if you can, if they are only getting a taste you don't have to worry so much about removing kibble, just once it's more of a meal. It's very normal for them to run off to a corner, they don't really like eating out of a dish, they want to eat in their own little hideout spot. They look very healthy and are pretty young so that's good, but make sure you find an experienced ferret vet asap, it can be hard finding a vet who really knows these animals.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 18, 2014 21:40:08 GMT -5
They are really cute ferrets. They always seemed really healthy to me too...they have nice coats. I'll put a couple more pictures up for fun. I like showing them off. And then on to today's soupie report!
Here's a picture of Lola sleeping on Toby, the dog I told you about above who died a couple weeks ago. Oh, speaking of dogs, to answer above, I do have other animals in the house. Three dogs, well two dogs now. I treated them with thornit powder as well. Their yearly check up is coming up next month (luckily they can just go to the traveling vet that comes to town if it's not an emergency) so I'll have the vet take a better look and make sure there are no mites in the dogs ears. I honestly didn't see any signs of mites in the dogs ears after I discovered them in the ferrets, so maybe they didn't catch them. I treated them anyway though. I was wondering if that plug that came out that revealed the "writhing mass of a thousand mites" might have been keeping the mites trapped inside the ears. Who knows. Anyway, so here's Lola and Toby.
Lola sleeping in my bed like a little person.
Although this photo looks posed, I didn't know my boyfriend took it. Lola likes to ride in my sleeve and I would take her with when we would go out and hike with the dogs. We were sitting down by the ocean and it was beautiful. I had held my sleeve up to my face to block the sun from blinding me, and Lola was popped out of my sleeve to take a look around. And he snapped a picture without me realizing. It's perfect though. A girl and her ferret. Ha.
This was the day I got Zin out of the pound. After he and Lola met and played, they crawled into her cage together and fell asleep like this. It was love at first sight. Precious.
And them hanging out in their sleep cube, looking adorable as usual.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 18, 2014 22:04:05 GMT -5
Ok, so, insolnomia. I actually HAVE read a little about that. BG...blood glucose. Got it. I'll have to go read more about it. Is it the one they have the implant for now? Or is that the adrenal disease? I didn't realize being mellow and spacey was a sign for insolnomia. I'll have to go see what the other symptoms are! And I'll make sure to tell the vet when I go.
Getting a ferret first aid kit would be a really good thing for me to do. I have two tubes of ferret lax on hand, just in case I need it. I also dissect their poop everytime I scoop it, which is once or twice a day. I watch for foreign objects, thin poop, or mucus or runny poop. I once found foreign objects in Lola's and discoved she had pulled a pair of my dirty panty hose down under the dresser and was eating the toes. I don't know why she did that, she usually doesn't eat stuff that's not food. I'm guessing it was because they smelled like sweaty feet? Gross. Anyway...I was able to give her a ton of ferret lax and she passed the rest. Another time, I noticed her poop got super thin, and she had been coughing, so I gave her a bunch of ferret lax and she passed a huge hairball. I realized she had started shedding. I found a video on youtube on how to "pluck" your ferret when they shed their coat to prevent them from ingesting the hair and I did that for a couple days and most of the hair went into the trash can instead of her licking it. I'll have to find the thread of what else I should have in the kit.
There is a lady in town who runs our local dog and cat rescue, and she has some emergency vet supplies and can help people out in the night. She has stuff for poisoning and stuff to give fluid under the skin, and her husband got certified in euthanasia, so if needed, they can help put an animal down. So I have access to under the skin fluids and needles if that should ever be necessary, as well as some basic vet stuff.
So, moving on to today's soupies. I woke Zin up and when he was still sleepy started scruffing and feeding. (So he wouldn't be super hyper like the night before.) He actually look the soup at fist, licking it off of my finger. He wouldn't take it off of the spoon though. There was a very small chunk that didn't blend well, and when it went into his mouth he kind of freaked out and clawed his way out of my arms and ran and hid to chew the bite. He wouldn't take any more soup from me after that. I got about 3/4 of an ounce of soup into him. Lola actually did pretty good. She took the soup from my fingers immediately without having to scruff her, and I started putting it into the spoon and tipping it to her mouth and she was "drinking" it up. I put her down to see if she would take it out of the bowl and she wouldn't, so I continued the spoon method. She ate over an ounce before she started acting weird. When the soup would go into her mouth she suddenly froze up and stopped breathing and moving her mouth (I thought she was choking at first!) and then RAN under the cage. Once she was "hidden" she relaxed and breathed and "chewed" the bite then came back out. She did this about 3 or 4 times in a row before she was done. She wanted the soup, but once it was in her mouth freaked out and froze and then ran and hid to eat it.
I guess you guys did say ferrets like to eat in private. I left some soup in a bowl in their normal eating spot. I actually have one of those ferret "camping tents" in their cage, and the food bowl is right outside of it, and they go inside the tent then pop their head out to eat. I just set the cage up like that, I didn't even realize I was actually doing something they like. Ha. I put the leftover soup in the normal food spot outside of the tent and left them locked up in there so I'll see later if they went down and took some soup on their own. And if not, I'll scruff and feed some more tonight.
How often should I be weighing them when first starting? And how much soup should they be eating in a day? It doesn't seem like they are getting enough food at this stage.
Ok, thanks for your help so far everyone! I'll keep reporting and watching for information.
Post by brittles888 on Feb 20, 2014 5:25:12 GMT -5
Well, today I let them eat all the kibble they wanted in the day, and then took it away and fed them soup in the evening. They both were eating the soup out of the spoon if I tilted it so it dripped in their mouth, but they both eventually start acting weird and freezing then running and hiding after each "bite". Is this normal? I know it was mentioned above they like to eat privately. But, they won't eat it out of the bowl. They will only eat it if I tilt the spoon into their mouth. But then after they have a few drops in their mouth, they have to run and hide and "eat" the bite, then they will come back. Zin was the worst. He would take ONE DROP and then run and take it three stories up to the top corner of his cage, eat the drop, then come back down and take another, then run three stories up to the top of his cage, over and over. I tried just putting it up in the top where he was running to but he wouldn't eat it unless I gave it to him, and then he ran DOWN to eat it instead. How do you get them to start eating it out of a container? I know someone said they don't like eating out of a bowl above as well, but how do you feed them soup if you don't use a bowl? Thanks everyone!
Post by goingpostal on Feb 20, 2014 20:00:33 GMT -5
Ear mites can be a pain to get rid of, I've gone rounds and rounds with them because it seems like pet stores must be infested with them, I've taken in quite a few fuzz with them and had to treat multiple times. They can cause ear/hearing issues if gone too far, we had one girl who was walking in circles because they got so bad.
Insulinoma usually shows up around 4 years old or later, that is the age I start checking at least once a year if not twice. Usually they will act very lethargic, seize or lose strength in their back legs but it's best if you can catch and start treating before they show signs. Usually treatment is daily pred dose. Adrenal is what there is an implant for and there's a few options. Deslorin is the common treatment currently.
To get them to eat, honestly I've never used a spoon, I finger feed and syringe feed and usually within a few days of that the ferret is eating it on their own. It will take a bit for them to go from eewww weird food to hey I want that! That is when you want to start worrying about how much they are eating and removing kibble. For now just make sure they get a taste several times a day, even if they don't eat much at first. Most people make up a batch and freeze in ice cube trays, feed as much as they are willing to eat.