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Ask Joni Your Own Question
Joni, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1683
Experience:  20+ years at vet clinic-all aspects of care for all small pets, cats, dogs and wildlife rehab
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my ferret scratches a lot and wakes up from a nap and ...

Resolved Question:

my ferret scratches a lot and wakes up from a nap and starts scratching for sometimes 5 minutes straight. i had skin scrapings and ear mites checked but nothing, they have me giving her anti-inflammatory eardrops but they're not helping.

Optional Information:
Age: 2; Female; Breed: albino

Already Tried:
alot of checkups, eardrops, skin scrapings

Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
i am wondering if perhaps it could be what i heard of an "adrenal disease" which would require and expensive blood test
Expert:  Joni replied 11 years ago.
It really doesn't sound like adrenal disease. Does she have any fleas? Just one can cause them to do this if they are allergic to them. You can safely use Adams Fleas Off Mist on ferrets and this will kill any fleas as well as mites or lice. I would give it a try. When they did the skin scraping did they do several spots and scrape it until it scratched the skin enough that it bled? If not, they may have not gotten deep enough into the skin to find anything.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Joni's Post: A few different veterinarians have suggested advantage (even though only for dogs and cats) to be used on my ferret. I have done this as they advised. I don't think it's fleas because i had her shaved a month or so after all this excessive scratching started, and have seen what fleas look like, given the time for the advantage to work, and nothing happened with her scratching.

Yes the scraping was done (3 dif places) until bled and they said they found nothing. My ferret's coat (where it wasn't shaved) is turning an orange colour.

About the adam's fleas off mist, can it kill mites below the skin? ear mites? mite eggs? and where might I be able to buy it? (i live in canada but maybe i can have it ordered)

please reply i need more help and the only thing the vet's are suggesting now is a 200$ blood test for adrenal disease which i really can't afford
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
ps. is the (the first item at the top) the product you are suggesting? it doesn't say to be used on ferret's but you guarantee it is?
Expert:  Joni replied 11 years ago.
Yes that is the item. I have used it on many ferrets as well as rabbits very often. It will not kill ear mites as you would need to spray it directly into the ear and I wouldn't do that.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Joni's Post: but what do you make of her coat turning a dark orange colour, she's albino and its quite a dark orange her fur is turning, is that not a sign of adrenal disease?

if i use that product and nothing happens, would a blood test be (in your opinion) the next step?

please answer both these questions and i will be satisfied
Expert:  Joni replied 11 years ago.

Several of my albinos turned an orangy color so although itchiness and orange can be signs it is not entirely conclusive. However, since they are possible signs it would be a good idea to go ahead and have the test. Is your ferret showing any other signs? The most common is baldness- usually starting at the butt. Before you shaved her was she going bald? Is her vulva swelling at all as that is also a sign. It is possible to have just one symptom though so not all have to be present. Your main question to ask yourself is "If it is adrenal related am I going to have the surgery done to remove the adrenal(s)?" It is usually the left that is involved. If it is the right they sometimes cannot remove it due to huge blood vessels on the right side. Then the ferret needs to be put on either Lysodren or Lupron. These are expensive as well and some ferrets cannot tolerate them. Has your vet discussed this with you? How does he want to do the diagnosis? Ultrasound? Blood test (the university of Tenn. does this). If you cannot afford to have the surgery done or use the medication then you my not want to spend the money to test for it. You may just elect to try to keep your little critter happy and healthy as you can. If you can afford it then by all means have it checked out and pursue it. Does your ferret have much artificial light? This can be an issue with adrenal tumors. They feel that ferrets that are exposed to a lot of artificial light can develop them so this is something to keep in mind just in case.

Has she been spayed? Also, here is an interesting link for you:

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