Hi everyone! My name is Kristin, and my husband (who will also be using this account) id Parker. We gave one fuzzy and his name is GusGus. ☺ I'm not sure how old he is. We have only had him a few months.
We recently realized he has insulinoma. We are doing everything we can to make him feel better. Going to a raw diet and giving meds (being sent by a rescue since I can't afford a vet at the moment because I recently started a new job).
We are hoping we haven't caught it too late. I love him so much and now constantly worry any time I'm away.
What is the best way to transition? Am I ever going to stop worrying about him? I'm so afraid of losing him, and failing him.
Thank you so much for any and all information. Please give any and all suggestions!
Everyone on this forum has a shorter lifespan because ferrets scare the bejeezus out of us. You never stop worrying... But if you found HFF, then you are certainly not failing your fuzzy. You've already acknowledged that your fuzzy deserves better, for many that's the toughest part. 😊
What is GusGus eating now? Have you presented him with any meat yet?
Gus is/has been on Purina kitten. That's what we were told he had eaten his entire life. I am hoping that we can make the switch pretty easily! I JUST gave him Beechnut chicken and broth with some chopped chicken liver. He wouldn't eat it out of the bowl, but when I hand-fed him, he would! He got a couple chunks of meat in his mouth and seemed shocked! But he liked it!
He crashed yesterday (lethargic, limp; I think I explained it to you on FB) and has been pretty slow going since. I did get him out today and he did his war dance through the kitchen! He is drinking water as well as eating.
Is it okay for me to stop using kibble totally already, and just do the baby food, water, eggshell and meat? And speaking of the liver, he can't have that too much a week right? I need to do a little shopping for him, but I don't know what meats/organs I need to get!
Ferrets with insulinoma need to have constant access to food, so as abbeytheferret6 said, don't remove the kibble until he is established on soupie - but it sounds like GusGus knows what's good for him 😊
It is fantastic he ate the baby food + liver! Because baby food is cooked, it is more of a convalescence food (eg: right after a crash to stabilize BG) rather then transition (as he could be eating this for a few days or longer). Now that GusGus was willing to try liver, you will want to make the soupie:
8oz of chicken thigh 1 oz of raw liver 1 oz raw heart 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of crushed eggshell. Combine in a blender, with just enough water that it has the consistency cream.
If he was willing to eat liver (which is often one of the hardest meats to intro) hopefully he will think the soup is tasty too! @burleighfamily you are correct that liver is only to be given in small amounts. It is high in vitamin A, which is fat soluble. This means it can build up in the organs causing toxicity. However, it's not easy to do, and once you're done transitioning you will be a pro!
GusGus is a a lucky ferret to have found his was to you - thank you for taking him in.
Try the soupie & let us know how it goes Once he is established feeding on the raw soupie, we can start on the frankenprey menu.
Klarissa - I am having a hard time finding any place near me that has hearts or anything other than livers. But I'm trying!
He's been sleeping a lot and not really doing much of anything. It makes me sad and worries me, but hubby thinks it's because he's still recooping from his crash the other day. He's been eating and drinking (not as much as I'd like, but I am a worrier), and he gives kisses and will do his dance when he's out (if he's not tired). I am so afraid that I'm not going to do this quickly enough and something bad will happen. I have to go out of town tonight for a funeral so won't have a chance to get him the stuff he needs at the grocery. Can I do the soupie without the hearts? Just the thigh and liver and eggshell? Or does it have to have heart in it? He didn't even eat 1/4 of a liver last night.
No problem! In the interim you can use taurine capsules found at health food store, 500mg/day. Taurine can also be purchased on Amazon.
Your hubby is right, GusGus is probably recouping - those crashes can take a lot out of them. I don't have a ferret with insulinoma, but I do understand insulinoma & vitamin deficiency that I feel comfortable saying:
His BG sounds like it's not yet well controlled, and a raw diet is crucial for doing so. Vitamin deficiencies take time to develop, so a few days without heart/taurine is no biggie. Even so, you can make a batch of soupie without heart, and stir in taurine powder at each meal when you get it. So yes you can make soupie without heart . I'm going to tag @katt and @sherry, just to confirm
Check your area for Asian grocery stores, they are the best. You can just type into Google your city/state, asian grocery store, and it should produce a list of any around.
Thank you so much. I did just mix him up a quick little thing with a tiny bit of kibble, a little bit of baby food, and a tiny bit of liver with some water. I haven't seen him drinking a lot of water (but I also haven't been home constantly) so I wanted to make it have a good bit of water in it. He ate some, I loved on him, and he went back to bed. I have a friend checking into a Mexican store that's near her house to see if they have anything. Also, I had a duck get killed last night. I was thinking of freezing her organs and meat for a couple weeks then giving it to him. Would that be okay?
A raw diet will make him feel better - more stable, energy, but insulinoma is a chronic disease. With pred & diet it can be managed well, and be can have a great quality of life. You will be amazed at the changes when you're done switching, they become a new ferret.
As for the duck, as long as you freeze it for a few weeks first it should make some delicious ferret food.
It does take a while for deficiencies to show up, so no real concern as of yet Talk to the meat manager of your local store. I can order chicken heart in bulk(10lbs). I partially thaw, baggie portions, and refreeze. Yes raw will help him stabilize much better, for a longer period of time than kibble. But he is ultimately going to get worse unfortunately. That said- Judge was 2 years on his initial dose of pred before losing him to a blockage. Cody has been a year now still initial dose. His biggest issue is he developed pred belly very quickly which hampers him. We also had a girl with a very malignant pancreatic cancer have another decent year between diet and med management. Vet told me on kibble we'd have lost her 2 months in.
Ferrets: Contessa, Frankenfurter, Butterscotch. Kitties: Watson, Oskar DIP Sinnead, Vincent, Boris, Zeus and Athena, Willow, Mr. Frodo, Indie, Lucrezia, Judge, Odin, Miss Emily, Suki, Cody, Aristotle. RIP Herne, Ligeia, and Mr. Stubbs
But at least he'll be better for a little while. And be happy and healthy! <3
I gave him his first bit of raw today! He ate it like a champ, and wanted more! I didn't want to overdo it so I put it away, but he really loved it. I posted a pic and video in the FB group.
I have ordered my scale and it will be here on Saturday. Weighs up to 11 pounds, can do grams, ounces, etc. Is digital and stainless steel. As soon as I get it I will weigh him out and hopefully be able to start this for good! <3
So it's okay for me to just leave the raw in his cage where I feed him? I wasn't sure if it was okay to leave it out or not, but if it is then I'm gonna put it back! I just worry about him gorging himself since he's been sick. I'm a worrier!
Thank you so much for your help! I can't wait to get my scale and get a mentor and make my little man happy! <3
So it's okay for me to just leave the raw in his cage where I feed him? <3
1) As I said, ferrets don't typically gorge themselves. Two exceptions are 1) ferrets that were abused, and starved, and 2) ferrets on pred. However, since GusGus is just switching, he has nutrients to make up for & his food should be left with him. Just like in our own diets, we may have to occasionally adjust portion sizes.
2) Raw meat can be left out way longer then you'd think. Unlike humans, with our weak digestive systems, ferrets were made to eat bacteria infested meats, lol. Some raw left out for a hours is still much cleaner then what their bodies can handle.
It varies based on room temp (hot, shorter; cold, longer). But on avg:
Soup 3-4 hours. Meat chunks 5-6 hours. Bone in 8-12 hours. Whole prey 24-36 hours.
In the winter to keep the ferrets room cold! Like, needing sweater & boots to play in there. Ferrets love it! I can leave soup for up to 8 hours. I have no AC in the summer, and I feed everything frozen, because everything is gross by 4-5 hours. Ick.
But generally, if it's rancid bad, ferrets won't eat it. I've had organs that made me gag, and all the animals were like "yum! Its smells better then normal". Double ick. Lol.
You are doing an excellent job! I hope raw feeding is starting to feel less overwhelming.
GusGus ate some soupies today! (since he's crashed a couple times, I wanted to follow the recipe and make double sure that I had some on hand for him.) I have him some raw meats in his cage now, as well as some leftover soupies.
He weighs in at approximately 2.5 pounds! We got our scale so I weighed him as best I could. I also weighed the soupies I gave him. He ate approx 2 ounces. Wasn't sure how much to put in there, so I kept it at 2 ounces.
I think he's going to do really well on the new diet, plus adding his meds. But I have made sure to tell him (he crashed again the day before yesterday) how much I love him and that it's okay if he feels that this is it. It wasn't easy, but I think I'm coming to grips with the fact that any day could honestly be his last. I stop working outside of the house on Tuesday, so I'll be home with him constantly, making things much easier.