Ear and Nail Care

When cleaning your ferret's ears, avoid going into the ear canal because you may damage the ear drum. Start by pouring a little ear cleanser into a small container and have Q-tips ready. Grasp your ferret by the scruff. Support the ferret on the counter top. Dip the Q-tip in the solution and clean each ear. Use the wet side of the Q-tip first. Then use the dry side to soak up excess moisture. Repeat as needed, using fresh Q-tips until all of the dirt or wax is gone.

Ferrets do get ear mites and ear infections, yeast being one of them. Either of these left untreated will cause serious health problems. See your veterinarian if your ferret is scratching excessively or if you notice any of the following: heavy wax build-up, which may be reddish brown or black in color, any kind of discharge in the ears.

If you have more than one ferret, all will need to be checked because infections and ear mites may spread from ferret to ferret.



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Nail Care

The optimal time to cut your ferret's nail is when your pet is tired or sleeping. Not when it is at its friskiest. Natural daylight is best. If you have someone who can help, let him/her hold the animal while you do the clipping.

Male ferret

Grasp your ferret by the scruff of the neck and let it "dangle" in the air. Its lower body should be supported on the counter, a table or your lap. To trim nails you will need a pair of human nail clippers or cat clippers. Before you start, take your ferret's paw and look for the pink blood vein area. It is not that easy to see so make sure you identify it. You do not want to cut back that far! If you do, the vein will bleed and cause pain. Accidents happen, of course, so if you should slip and nick the vein area, use a powder such as Kwik-Stop (four Paws) or cold water to stop the bleeding).

You probably will notice that as your ferret gets older, its nails will start to curl. Therefore, make sure that you keep its nails trimmed on a regular basis. If you do not, your ferret could become entangled in its bedding and remain there unable to reach its food and water until you come home.

If your ferret's nails get caught on anything (bedding, towels, or carpeting), grasp it by the scruff of the neck, controlling its head, because it may bite if it is hurt. Free the nails and assess the damage.

Sometimes the ferret will actually tear the nail out by the root. Your first concern is to stop the bleeding. Going to the veterinarian should be your next step because the ferret may need stitches and antibiotics to prevent infection.

References

  1. Clinical Medicine and Surgery. E.V. Hillyer, K.E. Quesenberry, eds.
  2. Ehrhart, N., et al., Pancreatic beta cell tumor in ferrets: 20 Cases (1986-1994). JAVMA
  3. Erdman, S.E., et al., Clinical and pathologic findings in ferrets with lymphoma: 60 cases (1982-1994). JAVMA
  4. Fox, J. Biology and Diseases of the Ferret



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