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Can You Wait To See A Vet?

When a pet ferret suffers bouts of vomiting and diarrhea but its usual veterinarian is on vacation, an owner wonders what to do.

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: May 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

Q: I have a 4-year-old, male ferret that is having bouts of diarrhea, and today he threw up once. The diarrhea happens almost once or twice a week and is mucousy. Can I give him anything for this? My vet is out of town for two weeks. My ferret is eating and fine otherwise. His weight seems to be normal and not decreasing. At first I thought it was due to giving him an oil-based supplement for ferrets, but I haven't given him that for some time now. Can you help?
 
A: You cannot safely give your ferret any medication until you know the cause of the vomiting and diarrhea. Normally I would advise you to take your ferret to its veterinarian, but you need to decide if you can wait until your regular veterinarian is back in town.

If you ferret is otherwise acting normally, does not seem dehydrated, is not losing weight, and is eating well, then you can probably wait to see your regular veterinarian. If any of this changes, seek out another veterinarian immediately.

What can you do to help your ferret while you wait? First, make certain that your ferret isn’t ingesting anything in its cage or your home that’s making it sick. Have you changed your ferret’s food recently? Has your ferret been around any other ferrets? Keep track of when the bouts of diarrhea and vomiting occur.

The most important thing is to make sure that your ferret stays hydrated and its weight remains constant until you can see the veterinarian.

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