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Ferret Scent Glands

Is it illegal to sell a ferret that hasn’t been de-scented?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: August 1, 2010, 5 a.m. PDT

Q: I have a ferret that I bought from a pet store in Indiana. The employee said that two of the four scent glands had been removed. A friend told me that it is illegal to sell a ferret in Indiana without all the scent glands being removed. Is this true? Do I need to call the pet store and make them fix the problem?
 
A: Any ferret sold at a pet store usually comes from a ferret breeding farm and has the anal or scent glands removed prior to being sent to the store. Ferrets have a pair of these glands (only a pair, not four).

Because your ferret is most likely from a breeder (identified by paperwork from the store or by ear tattoos), it is likely correctly de-scented.

As far as I know (but certainly in Indiana), ferrets do not need to have their scent glands removed to be sold at a pet store; most ferrets purchased privately do not have them removed.

As a point of information, only one of my 11 ferrets has had its scent glands removed.

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Reader Comments
I have a female pet ferret that has not had her scent glands removed. Unlike many others her smell is very strong at certain times of the year. Is it possible to manually express her scent glands? I would prefer to do this on a regular basis than be surprised when she gets excited during playtime.
Mark, Plymouth, IN
Posted: 11/24/2012 2:58:18 AM
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