Ferrets are fun and clever pets to have, but they also come with special considerations, like watching out for ferrets stealing shoes and other small objects! However, female ferrets have a more serious problem that you need to understand before you adopt one. This issue can mean life or death for a female ferret, so read on to learn how to protect your new pet.
Going into Heat
Female ferrets, like many other mammals, go into heat when it's their time to breed. Unfortunately, female ferrets have an uncommon complication that most other animals don't: going into heat for a prolonged period of time can actually kill them.
When female ferrets go into heat, their bodies produce a hormone called estrogen, which helps their bodies prepare to carry baby ferrets. However, if they don't breed, this hormone results in a breakdown of bone marrow, which is responsible for creating red blood cells. As a result, your female ferret will become severely anemic, which can kill your pet if it goes on for too long.
Spaying a Ferret
If you don't have any intentions to breed your female ferret, the easiest way to prevent this problem is to have your female ferret spayed immediately. Many breeders spay and neuter ferrets themselves before handing them over to their new owners, but if yours doesn't, it's up to you. The spaying surgery is relatively quick and easy, and it'll prolong your ferret's life and keep her safe.
Seeing a Vet
If you don't want to have your ferret spayed, you can still visit a veterinary hospital for help. Veterinarians can give your ferret a shot of hCG, Human chorionic gonadotropin. While this is a human hormone, it works on ferrets too, and it will trigger your ferret to enter the ovulation stage, which will lower the production of estrogen. Normally, ferrets will only begin to ovulate once they've actually had intercourse with another ferret. So if you intend to breed your ferret somewhere down the line or just can't spay your ferret for the time being, talk to your vet about giving your ferret a shot of hCG to get your ferret out of heat.
Ferrets are wonderful pets that can bring you and your family years of joy and amusement. If you intend to adopt a female ferret, just follow these steps to make sure your ferret lives a long and healthy life.