Hi my loving ferret people! Thank you so much if you take the time to read this. It means a lot. I’m in need of some direction.
So I just got back from the veterinarian with the goal of getting my two babies immunized (rabies and distemper) + wellness checkups. My girl, Nika, is 9-10 months old and weighs 1.1lb, and my boy is Chi, 5 months, 2.4lb. Both were fixed when we got them when they were about 3 months old.
This was our first time taking Chi to the vet, and it’s a new one who I’ve never met before. With quarantine going on, the vet tech took the ferrets inside while we waited in the car.
All goes well and both get their shots. The vet calls me and tells me that Chi is obese, asks about their diet (mix of Epogen 90 and Marshall’s since we’re trying to convert to Epogen), and recommends we schedule feeding times to 2x/day along with only giving the Marshall’s food because Chi had a diarrhea stool while they were immunizing him. I was unaware of the diarrhea prior since they use litter boxes and puppy pads, so it’s hard to tell if the watery stool is new or old.
I guess I’m just wondering if this vet’s advice can be trusted or if I need a second opinion. I know ferrets’ metabolisms are pretty fast and have read they should be eating about every 4 hours, so this twice a day feeding schedule seems ridiculous. I’m also not sure if he truly is obese, since I also thought males can weigh between 2-4lb. when full grown. Does length also matter here?
Any advice or resources y’all have found helpful? Or you can just tell me I’m just being overly concerned about my fat ferret. They mean the world to me and I want them to have happy, healthy lives.
Post by Corvidophile on May 4, 2020 14:56:24 GMT -5
Post pictures of the fat ferret being held around the chest/armpits with the legs dangling free if you want opinions on that, that’s generally how we judge. You can feed a ferret twice a day just fine, most people on raw who work feed them twice a day. They just give enough food at each feeding that it lasts until next time. With kibble, you’re more able to free-feed (have food constantly available) but it’s not necessary. If you’re able to feed them every four hours that’s good too, there are many different styles of feeding that all work out in the end. Fat and protein take much longer to digest than carbs do, which is another reason raw ferrets get fed larger amounts less often than kibble ferrets, who may benefit from more frequent feedings.
Pets having diarrhea at the vet and none at home is no big deal, it’s just stress that made it happen, so if it doesn’t happen at home I wouldn’t be concerned. Even if it does happen at home, he’s in the middle of switching brands you say? That’s a really common reason for stomach upset. I would not stick with the Marshalls, Wysong is a much better brand. A lot more meat to it. Some ferrets have a particularly hard time switching to Wysong and perpetually have diarrhea on it though, which is why they offer their “digestive support” variety.
From what you are saying with their age and weight, it sounds about right!! I had my sister's female ferret for a short time and she was around a pound whereas my male was around 2 pounds at that age. He is usually around 3 pounds now but he is full grown too.
Like what Corvidophile suggested, if you hold up your ferret, let their bodies dangle down and looks like a tube sock then they are in good shape. If they bulge out at the sides a lot then they may be over weight and if their sides are sucked in then they are underweight. But your male is still a kit so it's unlikely he is overweight.
Post by PatienceTheVirtue on May 7, 2020 23:50:50 GMT -5
I'm new to ferrets, but the weeks of research I've put into them make that advice seem absolutely awful. Marshall's is the worst brand of kibble on top of it being kibble in the first place, that weight sounds normal, trying to make a baby animal diet can really harm them, and they should always have food available 24/7. Like Corvidophile mentioned, even raw feeders have food always available despite only feeding twice a day - if a little is left over at the time of the next meal, that means food was always available, just freshened up twice a day.
OP here. Thank y’all so much for the input! I’m new to the whole ferret thing as well but I really tried to do what research I could before switching foods, when and how often to feed them, etc. basically everything. I think I took it personally when the vet said he was obese since we’ve only had him 2 months and I thought I was caring for them properly. He’s an absolute wild thing at home, and he runs faster than our little girl. He has the “tube sock” appearance (with no bulging anywhere) that you described so I’m not convinced he’s overweight. I think I’ll go to another vet for their next check up since they’ll need booster shots in 3 weeks. Y’all are amazing, thanks again.
Hi. All ferrets are different. Our Goober is right around 3 lb and very healthy and active. The biggest we had was Jaffa and he was around 4 lb. At the other end, Mogle and Eddie were slim and barely 2 lb. All that said, ours have access to dry food 24/7 and don't over eat. Any chance you could post a pic or 2?
Hi everyone! OP here again. Just got back from the vet (both babies needed distemper booster shots). Both ferrets have been active and playful, no issues besides litterbox accidents every once in a while. Chi now weighs 2.9lb (3 weeks since he weighed 2.4) and Nika weighs 1.3lb (3 weeks since she weighed 1.1). Vet said Chi needed to lose weight before developing problems, but acknowledged that both ferrets were still growing. We have fully switched to the Wysong Epigen 90 digestive support and there has been no diarrhea noted. I have not limited any food availability. Our figure-8 harnesses came in and we've been taking them on walks about 2x/day for the past 2 weeks, about 10 mins/walk. They're still adjusting to being on the harnesses.
We are not concerned about Nika at this point since the vet said she's a healthy weight (still not fully trusting of this vet, but whatever). I'm still very concerned about Chi. I've inserted a link below for you to see his body shape. Please let me know what you think we should do if anything. Just so you know, I've just begun researching raw diets so I'm very new to that concept.
Post by caitmonster on May 28, 2020 14:26:55 GMT -5
Looking at the picture he's got a tad curve outwards below his ribs, but honestly that looks fine to me. He certainly isn't egregiously overweight! (And omgoodness is he cute, give that nose a smooch for me.) They do tend to have some baby fat on them, especially at that age. He's still got some growing and maturing to do for a couple months yet.
Post by Corvidophile on May 29, 2020 8:07:56 GMT -5
A little chubby, but not concerningly so. Certainly not obese! That amount of extra fat won’t impact his well-being at all, so there’s no need for concern. He may well naturally lose it as he reaches adulthood.