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  • Ferret Fetish

    Ferret Fetish

    Ferrets are fascinating creatures that have moved their way into more than 395,000 American households over the past several years according to a recent study by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Popular because of their small size, their playfulness, and their friendly disposition, ferrets can be great companions. They do however require a lot of care and supervised attention.

    Members of the Mustelidae family, ferrets are related to minks, polecats, weasels, and otters. It is believed that ferrets were domesticated 2,000 years ago in Europe when they were used for hunting small game or controlling rodents. Domestic ferrets should not be confused with the North American black-footed ferret, which is an endangered species.

    Choosing a ferret
    Ferrets are very dependent upon their human companions for survival. Because ferrets require continuous care and supervision, potential owners should evaluate their ability to commit. The commitment is long term since the lifespan of ferrets is 6-10 years.

    Ferrets may not be the best pet for families with small children. Although ferrets are very social animals, they may bite or nip if mishandled. Never leave a ferret and a small child alone together. Ferrets generally get along with dogs and cats if they are introduced carefully, but they should not interact with birds, rodents, or small reptiles.

    When selecting a ferret from a shelter, a pet store or a breeder, choose one that is bright-eyed and alert. The presence of crusty eyes or nasal discharge that is full of mucus indicate illness. If you handle a sick ferret, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly so as not to infect yourself or the next batch of animals.

    Whether you select a male ferret, known as a hob, or a female, known as a jill, you should get a spayed/neutered ferret. Breeding is not recommended. Most ferrets from farms or pet stores will already be altered. If not, it is best to have the ferret altered at the age of 6 months. Neutering is a must for jills because they can develop aplastic anemia when in heat if they aren’t breed. The result could be death. Altering a ferret may actually improve it’s disposition since it will not be as aggressive or territorial.

    Descenting a ferret helps reduce the animal’s musky body odor. This surgery can be performed at the same time as spaying or neutering.

    Diet
    Ferrets are carnivores and therefore require a high meat protein diet. Quality cat or kitten foods may be used or specialty ferret foods are recommended. Water is needed at all times, and is best served in a bottle since ferrets may enjoy playing with water in a bowl. Food should be available at all times. Fruits and vegetables may be used as treats on occasion.

    Hygiene
    Bathing is recommended once or twice a month and can be used to relieve itching due to dry skin or fleas. Never dip a ferret. Bath water should be warm but not uncomfortable to human hands. There are several ferret shampoos on the market. Begin behind the neck and lather up onto the top of the head and under the chin. Be careful not to get water in the ferret’s eyes or nose. Shampoo the ears massaging the suds in before moving on to the rest of the body. General ear cleaning to remove wax build-up may need to be done weekly or monthly with an ear wash depending on the ferret. It is also important to check for ear mites on a regular basis. Symptoms include a coffee-grind type of discharge and as well as scratching at the ears and head. After rinsing, rub the ferret dry with a towel. A cream rinse or conditioner can also be used. Blow drying is not necessary since ferrets will dry on their own within ten minutes.

    Nail trimming is recommended at least every other week. If left unattended, a ferret’s nails will splinter, get caught in bedding, in carpet, or on cage wire and be pulled out. Nail clippers or cat claw trimmers will work fine. Trim nails to within an eighth or sixteenth of an inch of the quick, the pink part of the nail. A drop of Linatone, a vitamin supplement, may be used as a treat to hold a ferret still while trimming.

    Ferrets should also have dental care. Have a vet check for possible cavities, excessive plaque or tartar build-up. Home cleaning can be done with a cloth and baking soda. Do not use human toothpaste. Your veterinarian can supply you with finger brushes and flavored, digestible pastes that may make brushing an easier task.

    Accommodations
    Ferrets require a lot of freedom and exercise, but should be caged when not directly supervised. A clean cage will help make maintenance of your ferret easier. Wire cages are best and should be a minimum of 2ft. x 2ft. x 14 inches for one ferret provided the ferret has plenty of play time outside the cage. For multiple ferrets or if playtime is limited, a larger cage is better. Spacing on the bars must be such that the ferret can’t escape. A blanket or towel will serve as a comfortable place for your ferret to curl up and sleep while a litter pan placed in one corner will serve as a relief area. The cage may be kept indoors or outdoors. If kept outside, shade should be provided to avoid heat exhaustion. Supplemental heat is needed if temperatures fall below the freezing point. Inside the house ferrets should be caged when not directly supervised. Owners should “ferret proof” at least one room in the house for play time. Eliminate loose boards, open drains or air ducts or other holes that ferrets will investigate.

    Exercise and Play
    Ferrets will jump, run around, slide, do somersaults and play games. They are very curious and like to investigate just about everything. The best toys for ferrets are those made of hard plastic. Don’t give them anything that can be pulled apart when chewed. Ferrets may nip or grab onto people with their teeth during play. A loud, firm “NO” is the best disciplinary action. You may also try making a noise maker out of an aluminum can and coins. The rattling noise is disturbing and, combined with the “NO” can be used to correct negative behavior.

    Vaccinations and Routine Care
    Ferrets like dogs and cats are susceptible to rabies and should be vaccinated. They should also be vaccinated for canine distemper virus which can be fatal. Consult your veterinarian for recommended schedules. Ferrets are not immune to health problems, and should receive regular preventative health care through regular check-ups.

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Exotic Pet Care

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we see all animals great or small! We have certain Doctors who will see pocket pets, reptiles, and even our avian friends. If you have a small pet that needs medical attention please feel free to call us and we can help you set up an appointment.

Parasite Control

  • There is no subtle way to say this. To you, your pet is a family member. To a parasite, your pet is food. Parasites like fleas, ticks and heartworm-carrying mosquitos can carry numerous diseases that can seriously harm your pet. Here at Animal Care Center we offer a top of the line selection to help take care of these parasites and to keep you and your pet safe!

Nutrition Counseling and Premium Pet Diets

  • Here at Animal Care Center we recognize the importance that nutrition plays in the overall health and happiness of our pets. Nutritional evaluations and recommendations are included as a key component of our preventative health care protocols. We strive to be a valuable resource of nutritional information and advice for our clients. We believe that good nutrition is vital to your pet’s health. There are so many facets to nutrition so we understand how overwhelming it can be when you go pet food shopping. We are here to help you understand nutrition and what works best for your pet.

    Here are some nutritional topics that we can discuss with you during an appointment:

    • Understanding the basics of healthy nutrition and feeding practices
    • Reviewing life-stage nutritional recommendations for your pet
    • Determining the daily recommended caloric intake needs of your pet
    • Reading and understanding pet food labels

     

    If you have ever caught yourself walking up and down pet food aisles and not knowing what in the world is best suited for your pet’s diet, don’t fret you are not alone! We too have become frustrated by the vast number of pet foods, which are often misleading and confusing due to marketing schemes used to confuse owners. Also we are concerned about the number of pet food recalls that have occurred over the past several years. For this reason we are here to help you decide what diet works best for you and your pet. We can provide food lists that we can recommend to you or we also carry veterinarian prescription diets. Our prescription diets are specifically designed to help support the following aspects of our pets’ health:

    • Oral health/Dental Disease
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Live disease
    • Feline Hyperthyroidism
    • Gastrointestinal disease
    • Urinary tract disease, including urinary stones
    • Joint Disease
    • Food allergies
    • Skin disease
    • Heart disease

Geriatric Care and Wellness Programs

  • We care for your pet that has been in your family’s life! As our pets age they have special health needs that may require more attention and care then younger pets. We do recommend twice-a-year wellness examinations. These are important in order to detect or treat medical problems that may arise. A baseline senior wellness exam should be performed so it can be used as a benchmark for measuring changes in your pet. This exam includes a complete physical exam, oral and rectal examination and recording of body weight and body condition. Our Dr. also examines your pet’s ears, eyes, and various internal organs. Some laboratory work may be done, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, fecal exam, and perhaps endocrine blood tests and other diagnostic tools used to detect health baselines or issues.

Travel Certificates and Health Certificates

  • Domestic and International Health Certificates (USDA accredited) – Traveling with your pet? No problem…We can help! There are a number of travel regulations and requirements that exist and vary according to different airlines and destinations. Always make sure you do the proper research before your appointment to determine what is necessary for your unique travel needs. And if there is something you are not sure of you can always give a call! We are always here to help!

Microchip/Pet Identification

  • Microchipping can save your pet’s life. 1 out of 3 pets become lost in their lifetime. According to the humane society, only about 15% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back home. Almost 4 million pets are euthanized each year! This includes lost pets whose owners were not found in time. Microchips are an easy and inexpensive way to ensure your pet doesn’t become a statistic.

In-House Pharmacy

  • Our full In-House Pharmacy allows us to fill our patients’ prescriptions and quickly handle pet emergency needs.

Endocrinology (hormones)

  • Our doctors are dedicated to diagnosing and treating dogs and cats with a variety of endocrine (hormonal) diseases, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s disease. The endocrine system is an intricate arrangement of many hormones and control mechanisms. This complex system can fail in many places. Endocrine disorders are both multitudinous and often difficult to treat. However, our doctors here have seen numerous cases and have proper diagnostic tools to effectively diagnose and treat these disorders. If your dog or cat has an endocrine problem or you believe may have an issue please do not hesitate to call us.

Dermatology & Allergy Services

  • We provide complete medical care for skin conditions including serum allergy testing (QVC) and a full line of veterinary skin care products and diets. Companion animals can suffer from many of the same skin conditions that we do. Whether it be allergies, parasites, or a skin infection, our doctors are able to identify, diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin conditions.

Ophthalmology & Tonometry

  • This is the examination and treatment of conditions of the eye. (Tonometry defines the use of a specialized instrument to measure intraocular pressure which is vital in the detection of Glaucoma in our pets.) Animal Care Centers recognizes the importance of your pet’s eyesight and takes great measures to provide both care and client education.

Oncology

  • Getting a diagnosis of cancer for your beloved pet can be a very devastating and stressful time. We understand and are here to help both you and your pet. Our highly skilled and experienced doctors are trained to deliver compassionate care using treatment options to help improve the quality and duration of your pet’s life.

Cardiology

  • Animal Care Centers provides comprehensive treatments for conditions of the heart. Through the use of such diagnostic tools as an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (scheduled with our participating mobile specialists) and blood pressure monitoring, we are able to accurately diagnose and successfully treat our patients. We also have an in-house pharmacy for cardiac medications.

Laser Therapy

  • We have class IV Laser Therapy which is used to help relieve chronic pain and accelerates your pets healing and rehabilitation time following surgery. Laser Therapy can also be effectively used for on-going treatment of other chronic joint and muscle pains. We have seen positive results in our senior patients and in those who are challenged by arthritis. Read more about Pet Laser Therapy

Pain Management

  • Before, during, and after is our belief here at Animal Care Centers! We believe advanced medical protocols for the relief of acute and chronic patient pain is vital in our field! Not only do we keep our patients pain free during routine or specialized surgery but we also strive to keep our non-surgical patients who have chronic pain as pain alleviated as possible!

Dental Care & Dental Digital Radiology

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we provide complete dental services for your pet which includes full cleaning, polishing and dental radiographs (x-rays). We also provide before and after pictures to each client.

Anesthesia (including Propofol and Isoflurane)

  • We provide complete anesthetic monitoring which includes pulsoximetry, capnometry, blood pressure, EKG, core body temperature, respiration monitors and ventilator. We also provide warm intravenous fluids during surgery.

Telemedicine

  • We can send certain diagnostic procedures via telephone or computer. This is a wonderful tool when needing vital tests done as soon as possible. This includes EKGs and Lab Work.

Ultrasonography

  • Performed in-hospital by a Board Certified Ultrasonographer. Ultrasound plays a dynamic role in determining treatment plans in special cases.

Digital Radiography

  • We have state-of-the-art Direct Digital Radiography allowing for quick and enhanced-image diagnostics.

Patient Care

  • We provide soft bedding, warm IV fluids and therapeutic warm blankets for surgical and medical patients. We also provide our patients with our undivided attention and tender care.

Critical Care and Emergency Services

  • We provide intensive advanced care and treatments for most critical need patients and emergencies. For extreme cases that require highly specialized treatments we can offer stabilizing care until transferred to a specialist. We also have in hospital oxygen cages that are vital in emergency situations.

Full In-House Lab

  • In our laboratory we can run blood work quickly for emergencies or as a routine measure. Blood work that we can run in house includes: complete blood count (CBC) with manual and LaserCyte hematology testing, chemistry profiles, electrolytes, urinalysis, fecal analysis, cytology, heartworm/erhlichia/anaplasma/lyme disease testing, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus snap tests, and other in house diagnostic snap tests.