(I'm not sure if this is in the right category. It is sort of medical...)
I've gotten the news I really did not want to hear, but was expecting: Babs is blind. It makes sense, in a way. She startled when I picked her up, she always sniffed blankly when doors opened near her, and she never played in the same way Bella did. At the same time, I can't believe I didn't notice. I think this is why she was so hesitant to get to know me in the beginning and just so focused on getting to know her surroundings. The vet can't tell me whether or not she was born this way, but she expects it's just from old age.
So, have any of you had a blind ferret before? I know deafies are common, but I haven't heard much about blind ferrets. I'm worried about the stress it may cause her when I move into a new house in a month. How can I introduce her to her surroundings in an easy way without her being overwhelmed?
I would suggest finding Alvin Hook on facebook. He writes a daily story of his ferrets on the American Ferret Association fb page. He took in a little girl named Scooter - she was just a baby but went blind as a result of a (horrible) man throwing her against the wall so hard both her corneas detached. No surprises she was scared and traumatized when he brought her in, but she's since blossomed and become very feisty and independent.
I don't remember all the things he did, but one of them was get a collar with a little bell and put it on the other ferret so Scooter could guide her and follow her around. The good news is ferrets are very smart and have incredible memories so she'll be fine once she learns the layout and where everything is.
I've never had a blind ferret so my biggest suggestion would be to track Alvin down. He is very caring and willing to help out other ferret owners.
My Minion was blind. The vet never stated how it might have happened but it happened when he was very young. I got him as a pet store rescue. He was hugely aggressive. The reason why he was rescued was a prolapse that needed surgery. He had a number of issues that I discovered as he was vetted more. The prolapse was the first issue. It was later that we discovered the detached retina. He was always very fearful and startled easily. He developed a couple of very tight friendships but he would only befriend one ferret. Yuri was his first friend, he taught him to trust and how to get around (Minion was the ferret pictured in my article about death and dying, that was him grieving for Yuri). Within a few months, I rescued Atreyu. Atreyu took Minion under his arm and became Minion's eyes. They played, slept and ate together. It was rare that you found one without the other. Atreyu would protect Minion from all other ferrets, even though Minion was twice Atreyu's size. Throughout Minion's short life, Atreyu was his guiding light, his best friend. Minion would startle easy, running and slamming into walls if he got turned around. Most of the time he could get around without much trouble. He played and fought like a normal ferret. He loved his eggies with bells in them (more than the rattle eggies). He loved you to draw towels or blankets over him and then rough him up using the blanket. He never did learn bite inhibition so you didn't dare play hand games with him. He loved massages, especially having his feet rubbed. His hearing was very acute and sometimes I think that got him into trouble, causing him to startle. Minion Minion and Atreyu ciao
Hi Blind ferrets cope very well ( as heathers has ) once they get there bearings and learn the lay out of a room one thing you must not do is move things around to much as that will confuse them ( they build up a map of the room in there heads as to where things are ) remember a ferrets eye sight is not fantastic they spend most of there life sleeping or working below ground in the wild the ears whiskers and nose are there super charged eyes ! good luck with your baby Bev
Moe did very well when he lost his sight, but Prissy still bumps into things a year after she lost hers. Poor girl is hearing impaired, too. Still, she gets by. She can find her beds and knows where we sit when she wants treats. But she has lost the ability to find a litter box or newspaper in time.
Post by Jeremy's Boggle on Mar 2, 2015 10:47:55 GMT -5
Grace was blind. She navigated things very well. Grace went from being a single to a group smoothly and other than having Doc be protective of her she didn't have one who guided her. She did run into the table leg once but otherwise you wouldn't have known she was blind.
I've read about people creating scent trails for their blind ferrets, especially in new environments. Dab a little scent at ferret height along the walls/furniture and do something like vanilla to the kitchen, cinnamon to the bathroom, etc. The only thing is: don't use anything with essential oils, because those are toxic to ferrets.
Poor little Babs, it's a scarey enough world without trying to deal with it, when you are blind. I've read here on the forum about scent mapping. The idea is that you would use one smell for Babs bedding, another scent for her litter box, etc... You can decide what areas to use scents to help Babs find her way around.
@muchasbellas has a blind girl, Evanna. I tagged her and she may know some other ideas.
Koufos has started to lose his sight. He is a waardie and he has been deaf all his life. Lately he has been bumping into walls but sometimes I am amazed as he will be heading straight for the wall then stop and miss it just like he could see. I have not taken him to the vet this year yet (waiting for Suprelorlin F to be in). I will have them check him out to see if he is indeed blind. He is going on 7 so he is in his golden years.
Heather, it's funny that you mention the bite training. Babs is a senior and has never learned not to bite hard — sometimes it's bad enough that my other baby will stop playing and Babs will have to dook at her for a while to keep playing!
Thank you all for the help. Would the scent trail idea help with moving into a new house? I use pine pellets in their boxes which is potent, I noticed Babs never misses the litter box because she uses the smell to guide her. Bella just misses deliberately to irritate me. Haha! What other smells could I use? Like for their play area, off-limits, etc?