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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Due to my aunts sudden passing I have recently become a ferret

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Due to my aunts sudden passing I have recently become a ferret owner. She is a year and three months old. Since I have owned her I noticed she had a swollen private area. My local vet who doesn't treat ferrets looked at her for me anyways. She is in heat. I have scheduled a spaying at a vet an hour away. But in the last week she has lost some fur and really slimmed down in weight. My local vet isn't sure what is going on and vet who is spaying her can't fit us in until when she is to get spayed. I am trying to figure out if she is becoming ill due to not being fixed yet. I know female ferrets have to mate or they die. Is this why she is becoming ill? And can't hey preform a spaying if she is in heat still? Looking for a second opinion
Hi there,

I'd really recommend that you try to find a vet in your area with more experience in ferrets. I'm not sure where you're located, but your state's vet school would be an excellent place to start if you're not too far away.

Virtually all ferrets sold in the US are spayed and descented prior to sale. It is actually very difficult to find an intact ferret any more, as most are bred in large facilities owned by one or two companies.

Ferrets are highly susceptible to tumors of the adrenal glands, which can produce estrogens and other sex hormones that can mimic being in heat. I'd recommend any vet that looks at her do the following:

-Submit a complete blood count. The reason females that go into heat and don't mate die is that they produce too many sex hormones, which supress their bone marrow and cause severe anemia and low white counts. Checking the blood is the first step to see how she's doing right now.

-Do some abdominal imaging to look for a mass in the abdomen.

-Consider sending a panel to the lab to measure steroid/sex hormones.

Some adrenal diseases of ferrets can be treated with medication; others require surgery, and some cannot be treated. I'd really encourage you to investigate this further. If your vet goes ahead and "spays" her, I think what will happen is that he will find no reproductive organs. Exploratory surgery is one way to find a tumor, but it is invasive, and imaging is safer and easier on the ferret.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
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