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Do German Ferrets Have Different Digestive Tracts?

A ferret owner with two baby German ferrets wonders if they really need fruit and cooked vegetables.

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: August 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I am the caretaker of three ferrets. Wednesday is our older male. He took it hard when our other male ferret died recently, so I got a couple of German cinnamon kits in need of homes from a local rescue. Sugar is the girl and Cosmo is the boy. The rescue home is also a breeder's home. The kits were born in early April a couple of days apart. I was told that they are brother and sister. Is this possible if they were born two days apart? The Germans are stockier and will be larger than the American sable, but is there a digestive tract difference? The woman at the rescue home said that they like and should have some fruit and cooked veggies in their diet. Not a lot, but a little each day. I can find nothing to back this up. Can you help me with this diet dilemma? In what ways are they different?

A: It is highly unlikely they were born a couple of days apart, but odd births like that can happen.

Although some breeding lines of ferrets may be larger and stockier than other lines, internally all pet ferrets are the same. The gastrointestinal tract is the same in all pet ferrets because they are all the same species of ferret. Commercial ferret food that is available today is excellent and balanced for pet ferrets. If you start to supplement that diet with vegetables and fruit (not necessarily part of a normal ferret diet) you can throw off your pet’s dietary balance. If that happens, essential nutrients may not be eaten by your ferret. I would advise against supplementing the diet with fruit and vegetables because German ferrets are no different than other pet ferrets.

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Do German Ferrets Have Different Digestive Tracts?

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Ferrets cannot digest fruits or vegetables, they lack a cecum and appendix, plus can cause intestinal blockage.
Susie, Fort Worth, TX
Posted: 10/4/2008 7:51:40 PM
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