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Summary of Drugs Used in Ferrets

John R. Dinsdale, BVMS MRCVS

(An update to this list can be found at Health Matters 4)

Please note all the drugs listed below are used with no current licence for their use in ferrets in Great Britain. There use should therefore be at the discretion of the veterinary surgeon who dispenses the drug and with the consent of the owner. All dosages are as listed in reputable publications or from personal communications. Any drugs used at dosages common to the cat will be described as, "as per feline". I hope these details below will be of help in bringing together information that is at present scattered in many publications, it is of course not exhaustive. Any information any one else may have will be gratefully received. Please note the attending veterinary surgeon is best placed to advise on the severity of disease and the likely treatment required.


At present we use Nobivac as it is licensed for use in Scandinavia and efforts are being made to do the same in the UK. See Becky Delanoy at Intervet for details. There is no indication at all to use parvovirus or hepatitis vaccine in the ferret, the only requirement is for the distemper fraction, if possible use the vaccine with the least other fractions in it e.g. Intervet DP. So far we have encountered no problems with this use. There is one licenced rabies vaccine in the USA for ferrets should it ever become necessary.


Proligestone 0.5ml per ferret SC (may need to repeat in 6 months).

Human Chorionic gonadotrophin 20 IU IM.

Buserelin (Receptal) 0.25ml IM


Sedation / Light anaethesia

Ketamine hydrochloride 25-40 mg/kg IM

Rompun(Xylazine) 4 mg/kg IM - WITH CARE

Hypnorm 0.3mg/kg IM

Saffan 10 mg/kg IM

Pre medication

ACP and Temgesic as per feline

Atropine sulphate 0.05 mg/kg SC


Ferrets are easy to tube even without a laryngoscope no local anaethesia is required


Isoflurane (drug of choice)

Ketamine / Xylazine 25 mg/kg ketamine & 2 mg/kg xylazine IM - WITH CARE

Ketamine / ACP in a 10:1 ration 35 - 40 mg/kg ketamine IM

Ketamine / Diazepam 25 mg/kg ketamine & 2 mg/kg diazepam IM

Antisedan at half the volume of xylazine given does seem to rapidly reverse its actions. (SC)


Temgesic (buprenorphine) as per feline


Fenbendazole 0.5 mg/kg single dose

Mebendazole 50 mg/kg twice daily 2 days

Ivermectin 0.5 - 1.0 mg/kg SC repeat in two weeks


Ivermectin 1.0 mg/kg SC

Frontline as per feline

Advantage (Bayer) as per feline


Amoxycillin 25 - 35 mg/kg BID or TID

Synulox 25 mg/kg BID or TID

Ceporex 25 mg/kg BID or TID

Tribrissen 30 - 50 mg/kg SID or BID

Chloramphenicol 50 mg/kg per os

Genticin 4 mg/kg per os BID

Most other antibiotics as per feline


Prednisolone 0.5 - 2 mg/kg

Medrone V as per feline


Lasix 0.1 ml per os per ferret ( can use paediatric syrup as per feline) SID / BID

Inderal as per feline

Digoxin as per feline


Ketaconazole (nizoral) 50 mg per ferret per day per os - watch renal function

Grisovin 25 mg/kg


Blood 10 ml with 1 ml sodium citrate can be repeated

Cytoxin 1/4 of 25 mg tablet once every 3 weeks per os per ferret (not on same day as vincristine)

Vincristine 0.05 mg to 1kg - 0.1 mg over 1 kg IV

Lectade 25 ml/kg TID

Vitamin B 5 mg SID SC 3 days

Katalax 1/4 teaspoon EOD

Chlorphenhydramine 1 - 2 mg/kg up to TID

Benedryl 0.5 - 2.0 mg/kg BID

Pepto Bismol 0.5 ml/kg BID

Cimetidine 10 mg/kg TID

Insulin 0.5 - 1.0 IU/kg SID

Lysodren 50 mg/kg SID 7 days then every 3rd day

Dopram as per feline

Most ear and eye preparations are used as in cats there appears to be considerable drug resistance in the topical treatment of ear mites. Ferrets are easy to handle and sample and very rewarding to treat. The jugular vein is by far the easiest for blood sampling and the least painful.

Intramuscular injections can be given in most large muscle masses and seem least painful in the dorsal lumbar musculsture. Intravenous fluids can be given via a catheter placed in the jugular vein and fixed with super glue before taping I use an infusion pump to control the flow rate accurately in ferrets now.

(As published in the April 1997 issue of the NFWS News)