An expensive time in the lives of my ferrets!!

by Suzanne Bridges

I acquired a new albino hob kit, so white that I named him Snowball but when he soon goes to the vets he might have to be rechristened (minus the "s"!). Cost approximately 80.00.

He came to me as a package with his mother Honey, who'd given birth to 7 kits; the somewhat irresponsible owners (they had a dog called Tyson, need I say more?) let the ferrets escape into a nearby garden. I say let them, but as we all know ferrets will always get out of anything that's not ferret-proof.

The jill happily feasted on next door's eggs and their chickens so understandably the irate ex-chicken owners threatened the ferret owners and their ferrets with extreme violence if they (I presume the ferrets) were not removed form the vicinity.

The hob kit came to me were fat and bright-eyed (too many chicken eggs!) but a visit to the vets with Honey proved expensive. She needed to be spayed and had severe ear mites, which of course meant that the rest of my ferrets has to be treated as well. Cost 96.00.

The previous week my oldest hob Sundae, battle scarred from a run-in down a hole (badger, I think), added another scar to his poor body. He had what appeared to be a scratch or a bite on his back where a scab had formed. It wasn't healing and was growing. I got worried so another trip to the vets who roughly I thought, pulled off the scab. It bled copiously and I was furious. The vet said that she had to do that to see what was underneath it, but accepted she could have been gentler. It turned out to be a growth which once removed was found to be benign, so Sundae lives on although considering how much he wriggled when the vet was poised over him with a very pointy instrument in order to take the stitch out........ Another expensive bill, cost 76.00.

Another day, another visit to the vet, albeit a different one this time with Dennis who had developed bald patches and sores. Yep, you guessed; ear mites! I've now got shares in Canural! This only cost 26.00.

I remember there used to be clinics run by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) to whom you gave what you could afford, but these seem to have disappeared and I am always horrified at what our vets charge. I can understand how those with little money do not get treatment for their animals and I can't stress enough how important it is to budget for vets bills when getting a ferret or any pet for that matter. My two cats (12 & 13 years old) have only been to the vets for neutering and jabs yet my ferrets are bankrupting me!

I am now spending my evenings looking down 9 pairs of ears; Snowball , Honey, Sundae, Dennis, Romeo, Juliette, Beanie, Caramel- Custard and Archie; and nursing 3 old ferrets, one with no canines and two fusspots who only eat cut up chicken and lactose-removed milk!

Denis, Sundae, Romeo

However, the pleasure they give me when they play is immeasurable. They race round the garden, in and out of their drainpipes, dig my plants and bulbs up, fall in the pond and swim to shore, supervised! Meanwhile Sundae steals my pens, Beanie steals my food as I eat, another steals the cutlery and hides it under the sofa (along with awful unnamed bits of things they've hidden to eat later).

Currently 5 fat ferrets are dozing on the floor on my cuddle basket which normally resides on the sofa whilst their cage lies empty but you know what I love them to bits.

(First published in NFWS News - #80 Janauary 2008)