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Occassionally a ferret may become sick and refuse to eat their food, when this happens seek advice of your vet to find out why this has occurred.
Such problems can arise due to blockages in the stomach, kidney problems etc. not just stomach upsets. Its essential to find out quickly why this has happened as this will help with the course of treatment needed and what foods to try to feed them (for example Ferrets with Kidney disease need to go on a low protein, low phosphorous diet). In times of such illness, prevention of dehydration is more important initially than feeding your ferret.
Below you will find details of commercially available foods that can be used to feed a sick Ferret, recipes to make your own Duk Soup, and also advice on how to syringe feed food and medication to a poorly ferret.
The following are some of the foods that many rescues and Ferret owners have in their house for such emergencies, or some vets may prescribe, though there is no guarantee your ferret will eat these when s/he is not feeling well. Sometimes you may have to resort to syringe feeding. You can also make your own liquid supplement often referred to as Duk Soup, see below.
Royal Canin Convalescence Support (50g Instant Powder Sachets)
Mix 1-2 heaped teaspoons to 15ml of warm water to produce a thin creamy liquid soup that can be served
in a bowl, off a spoon or syringe fed to a poorly ferret. Very palatable and despite being made from milk
protein is easily digested and well liked by many ferrets. Feed 4-5 times a day if this is all the ferret is eating.
ANALYTICAL CONSTITUENTS: Protein: 42% - Fat content: 24% - Crude ash: 7% - Crude fibres: 3% -
Metabolisable energy: 4430 kcal/kg.
Mix 2 small scoops with 15ml of warm water to produce a thin creamy liquid soup that can be served in a bowl, off a spoon or syringe fed to a poorly ferret. Very palatable is easily digested and well liked by many ferrets. Feed 4-5 times a day if this is all the ferret is eating.
Duk Soup / Duck Soup is a catch-all name for any special food used for supplemental feeding of a sick ferret. None have duck as an ingredient! The term was coined years ago when a ferret named "Lucki Duck" was fed such a mix to help him over an illness. Since then many rescues and owners have developed their own recipes, some have lots of ingredients others are simple but just as effective. This is great for building up weight on ferrets too.
2) Take 1 small mug of kibble (e.g. Supreme Science) and put in a bowl and pour on boiling water. If you do it at the end you can use the boiled water from the chicken, leave to soak in, top up with more water as necessary until it becomes porridge like
3) Strip the flesh and skin from the bones (I bin the bones and grissle, as the grissley bits block syringes) pop into blender, add water from the chicken pan and blend to a fine smooth paste then add the moistened kibble and reblend, you are looking to make a fine houmous like paste.
5) Defrost before using, put 1-2 heaped teaspoons or 1-2 frozen cubes into a bowl for a single ferret serving. Add hot water to mix to a thin liquid soup that is warm. You can add 1 teaspoon of RCC, Hills A/D, or some Lactol for some extra nutrients for ferrets needing a real boost.
A poorly ferret can become dangerously underweight very quickly, so syringe feeding will help ensure that the ferret is taking in good nutrition and liquid to maintain strength while it fights whatever is the cause of its ailment.
Syringe feeding sounds harsh but doesn't have to be stressful for the ferret and actually encourages the ferret to eat. Make sure the food you intend to feed is nice and liquidy, warm seems to work better than cold, and you have a large enough syringe (20ml works well) to slowly trickle the food from the end. Don't push too fast as you don't want the liquid to go down the wind pipe, far better to gently trickle so the ferret licks it from the end of the syringe.
Some ferrets require little and often, so 5-7 ml over every 1-2 hours to start with, but will normally increase the amount they will take in one feed to 20-30ml per feed every 4 hours. Ideally a ferret relying solely on liquid feed needs at least 90ml over 24hrs to remain hydrated.
NOTE - The above is provided for information only and whilst we have tried to make sure these statements are accurate no responsibility can be taken by STARescue or the author for the interpretation of the points made or success of the procedures/ treatments mentioned.