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Giving oral medicaton to a ferret can be difficult as some medication is nasty tasting to the ferret. This page outlines how we manage to do it.
Some medication such as oral liquid Flagyl (Metronidazole, Norazole) tastes absolutely awful and sometimes cannot be hidden in any foods, so is best syringed direct into the ferrets mouth. This can be achieved by firmly scruffing the ferret and placing the syringe at the back of the jaw, often the scruffing will cause the ferret to yawn making it easier to squirt the liquid into the mouth. Don't point the syringe to the back of the throat as this may cause the liquid to enter the wind pipe, instead point the syringe towards the side/front of the mouth and express the liquid into the mouth, then duck as you may find your ferret will spit.
Having some ferret oil in a saucer that is immediately available for the ferret to lick after the med is given can help calm the ferret after being given the meds and get the nasty taste out of their mouth. Do not be alarmed if your ferret foams or starts pawing at its mouth after taking these medications, this does sometimes happen and the ferret oil after can help. These are nasty tasting meds but can work well with some ailments so its worth persevering if you can, but if it is too difficult, do speak to your vet to see if there is an alternative medication you can be prescribed instead.
Note vets often prescribe Baytril (Enroflaxin) but there are palatable tablet forms of such as Noroclav or Synulox or XeDen which are less stressful to give than liquid baytril.
Some ferrets will take these meds if a little ribena is mixed in to the liquid but isnot advised for insulinomic ferrets or long term use.
Some medications must/can be served with foods but others should be given before food or other medications so always check
with your vet what is the case with the medication they are prescribing. Similarly some tablets can be crushed to powder
whereas others have to be given whole so again check with your vet.
Any medication that comes in tablets are very easy to administer by crushing the tablets and then mixing with ferret oil, cat milk or duk soup. Our volunteers regularly succeed with this method.
Metacam, prescribed as a pain killer, can be hidden in ferret oil, cat milk or soup.
Zantac/Ranitidine may be prescribed as a stomach protectorant as liquid syrup or in tablet form (which can be crushed) and this can be served mixed in oil/cat milk, soup. As it does have a peppermint taste some ferrets can taste it in small amounts of oil.
Antepsin (carafate) may also be prescribed as a stomach protectorant BUT this should be administered at least 1 hour before food or any other medication, so has to be syringed.
Some tablets may be able to be given whole to some raw meat eating ferrets if wrapped in a small layer of minced beef (but do watch out for them spitting out the tablet).
With ferrets that refuse to accept medication hidden in any foods, then sometimes the only way to orally administer the meds is via syringe, with tablets this may have to be by crushing the tablet to a fine powder and popping the powder into the syringe by removing the plunger, then when the plunger is back in drawing up some tepid water into the syringe and shaking to mix the powder and water. Again check with your vets if this is OK to do with that medication.
Remember - Always seek the advice of a good ferret vet if your ferret appears poorly, ferrets hide illness well so by the time they show something is wrong by not eating, appearing lethargic etc it can be very serious and need urgent attention.
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.