Flu Season: Don’t Forget to Watch Your Ferret

by Claire H. on January 11, 2013

It's flu season, did you know to protect your ferret?

It's flu season, did you know to protect your ferret?

While perusing the Drs. Foster and Smith Facebook newsfeed this morning, I saw a post from one of our vendors that had me a little baffled. Marshall Ferrets had the following status: It’s flu season. Do you wash your hands before and after you hold or play with your ferret?

I wasn’t sure how the first sentence correlated with the second. I mean, it is flu season (I’m currently battling one of those deathly colds that make me wish my head had a drain button) but what does it have to do with ferrets? I clicked to look at the comments on the status and all the fuzzy owners were saying they indeed do make sure to wash their hands before and after handling their ferrets. I wanted to know why. I hopped over to PetEducation.com and did a search for “ferret flu.” Five articles came up, but the one that seemed logical to read was Influenza in Ferrets: Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention. Come to find out, ferrets can be affected by the same flu viruses as humans. As well as being able to contract the flu from us, we can pass it on to them!

Although we have the option of being vaccinated against the flu, it isn’t recommended for ferrets. Prevention of flu for your fuzzy is still important. If you do have the flu, it’s recommended to not handle ferrets. Just as it is with kids, a fuzzy owner can’t always find this to be a reasonable request to not handle their ferret at all. Our veterinarians recommend wearing a mask and washing your hands thoroughly both before and after handling when it is necessary.

To ensure the best health of your ferret during flu season, take the same precautions for them as you do for yourself, and make sure their home is clean. There are other diseases that ferrets can contract that have similar symptoms, so it’s always good to get your ferret checked, especially if no one else in the home has had the flu recently.

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Claire is a mom to three children. She has owned dogs and cats in the past, and currently has one calico cat named Potatoe. Although never owning them, she is very interested in reptiles, and has assisted friends in the past who owned a reptile store.

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