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Chemical tick, flea and mite treatments
Because there are few medicines licensed for the treatment of pets other than dogs or cats, vets often turn to off-label use of products available for the treatment of other species.
STRONGHOLD (aka Revolution or Salamectin) - FLEAS & EAR MITES
There is a good article about use here, unfortunately it hasn't been licenced for use in ferrets in the UK.
The safe dosage confirmed for ferrets is:
Fleas - 6-18 mg/kg body weight. Repeat monthly 15mg treatments may be required.
Note - Moorman-Roest successfully controlled flea infestation in ferrets utilizing monthly applications of 15-mg selamectin per ferret, regardless of weight.
Ear mites - 15mg. Adjust the dose rate for small or young animals. Do not apply direct to the ear canal.
Ticks - It does have some effect against ticks but can take 5+ days before taking effect on them.
It would appear that 15mg of Stronghold spot on (containing 0.25 ml 6% selamectin) is suitable for treating fleas and earmites monthly in ferrets. Which equates to 1 tube of Stronghold 15 mg (Rose coloured top). Do not allow recently treated animals to groom each other. If licking occurs, a brief period of hypersalivation may be observed. Do not use in animals under 6 weeks of age. During treatment with Stronghold no other antiparasitic macrocyclic lactone should be administered.
FRONTLINE COMBO SPOT-ON CAT - FLEAS & TICKS (licenced for use in UK for ferrets)
This is now licenced as a POM-V for use in ferrets in the UK for fleas and ticks, for ferrets over 6 months of age. The safety of this product has not been established in ferrets during pregnancy and lactation and is not recommended for treatment of sick (systemic diseases, fever...) or convalescing ferrets.
Also best avoided with ferrets that have a hypersensitivity to insecticides or alcohol.
One pipette of 0.5ml per ferret corresponding to a dose of 50 mg for fipronil and 60 mg for (S)-methoprene per ferret, by topical application to the skin.
The minimum treatment interval is 4 weeks.
FRONTLINE (FIPRONIL)/EFFIPRO SPRAY - FLEAS & TICKS
Use the cutaneous spray solution containing 0.25% w/v fipronil. The product is active against Ixodes spp. including Ixodes ricinis, important as the vector of Lyme disease. Again this is POM-V so only available through vets or with prescription.
It comes in a spray bottle that is dosed at 1 spray per pound of body weight. For treatment of ferrets, application may be carried out by spraying onto a gloved hand and rubbing the product into the coat, ruffle the coat, so that the product dampens the fur all over and penetrates down to the skin. Do not apply directly to the ear canal and avoid the eyes, nose and mouth. Allow to dry naturally (the formulation contains a glossing agent, therefore, spraying builds up a film and makes the fur glossy). Allow treated animals to dry in a well ventilated room. Repeat monthly.
Do not use on sick (systemic diseases, fever...) or convalescent animals. Do not allow recently treated animals to groom each other. If licking occurs, a brief period of hypersalivation may be observed due mainly to the nature of the carrier.
We have found frontline to be safe and effective for ferrets. Frontline will work for 30 days.
ADVOCATE - FLEAS & EAR MITES (licenced for use in UK for ferrets)
Note - Advantage for Small Cats is also available, but without a vet prescription and only treats Fleas.
For ferrets: Only use "Advocate for Small Cats and Ferrets" (0.4 ml) or Advantage 40. Do not use Advocate spot on for Large Cats (0.8ml) or Advocate for Dogs (any size).
Each pipette of the Advocate small cat and ferret presentations contains 40 mg imidacloprid, 4 mg moxidectin. Whereas the Advantage 40 does not contain the moxidectin.
Advocate is licenced by Bayer in the UK for the treatment and prevention of flea infestation (Ctenocephalides felis) and the prevention of heartworm disease (L3 and L4 larvae of Dirofilaria immitis) in ferrets, but also is licenced for treatment of ear mite infestation (Otodectes cynotis) in cats so should treat earmites in ferrets also.
The product’s efficacy has not been tested in ferrets weighing over 2 kg and therefore the duration of effect might be shorter in these animals. Treatment of cats or dogs weighing less than 1 kg, and ferrets weighing less than 0.8 kg should be based on a risk-benefit assessment. The safety of the veterinary medicinal product has not been established during pregnancy and lactation.
Part the fur on the animals neck at the base of the skull until the skin is visible. Place the tip of the pipette on the skin and squeeze the pipette firmly several times to empty its contents directly onto the skin. Application at the base of the skull will minimise the opportunity for the animal to lick the product. Do not apply directly to the ear canal. Apply only to undamaged skin. Do not allow recently treated animals to groom each other.
One treatment prevents future flea infestation for 3 weeks. Existing pupae in the environment may emerge for 6 weeks or longer after treatment is initiated, depending upon climatic conditions. Therefore, it may be necessary to combine Advocate treatment with environmental treatments aimed at breaking the flea life cycle in the surroundings under heavy flea pressure it may be necessary to repeat the dose after 2 weeks.
During treatment with Advocate no other antiparasitic macrocyclic lactone should be administered. This product contains moxidectin (a macrocyclic lactone).
Lungworm & Heartworm
There are different types of lung worm, but the current feeling is that Ferrets are not normally affected by worms due to their short quick digestive system.
However if you are still worried about worms then we recomend Panacur (fenbendazole) as it may work well for infected Dogs and Ferrets.
DON'T JUST USE ANY TREATMENT OFF THE SHELF AS THESE MAY HARM YOUR FERRET.
IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR VET.
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.
DO NOT use petroleum jelly, any liquid solutions, or freeze or burn the tick, as this will stimulate it to regurgitate its stomach contents, increasing the chance of infection.
The Tom Tick Twister is favoured by professionals (veterinary, medical, forestry and field workers etc), as well as by members of the general public.
In a comparison study of four different tick-removal devices, published in the Veterinary Record (2006, 159, 526-529), the Tom Tick Twister was compared with surgical forceps, a pen-tweezer device, and a tempered steel tool (slit and traction action). The Tom Tick Twister proved to be significantly better than the other devices for the time required to remove the tick, the ease with which the tick was grabbed, the force needed to extract the tick, the reaction of the animal and the condition of the ticks mouth parts.
At under £3 for a pair of twisters these are ideal to have in the house just in case your ferret or other pet picks up a tick.
These can be purchased online via Vet UK.
For illustration this is what ticks look like. This was a ferret rescued last year that had over a hundred ticks on him. Although this was an extreme case, every tick was removed using the Tom Tick Twister.