Posted: March 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EST
Q: I am looking for an oxygen option in case my ferret has respiratory issues and needs oxygen. Just recently we had a scare with my ferret and made a 45-minute trip to the vet. Is there anything out there like they have for people to provide oxygen to a ferret in respiratory distress?
A: I have been asked this a number of times over the years. Unfortunately, no real good options exist for owners of ferrets that might need oxygen. The reasons include costs, the potential hazards of oxygen and the lack of portable machines designed for ferrets.
So, that being said, how does this affect your ferret? I think the most important statement I can make is that if a ferret is in extreme dire need of oxygen such that it will die without an oxygen mask or tank on a ride to the veterinary hospital, then a disease is present in that ferret that will kill the ferret whether or not oxygen is available.
If a ferret is very sick with an illness that compromises the cardiovascular-respiratory system, make sure you have a hospital that you can bring your ferret to that can treat with oxygen but also address the disease that caused this respiratory distress.
During an emergency drive to the veterinary hospital, do everything possible to keep your ferret calm. That might mean leaving your ferret alone in its carrier to rest without being handled. And during that ride, make sure that fresh air is flowing near the cage (but not blowing on it); so the air vents must be on and working properly.
See all Ask The Doc questions and answers»