More About Ferrets
addition to regular veterinary checkups, ferrets require annual vaccinations
against canine distemper and rabies. Do not let New York City's ferret
ban interfere with properly taking care of your pet ferrets. New York
City ferret vets are on OUR side. Not one NYC ferret vet has spoken
at any public hearing in favor of the ban. NYC's ferret vets will not
"turn you in." If a former ferret vet is no longer seeing clients
with ferrets they'll simply tell you that when you call. If you need help
finding a ferret vet in the NYC area let
us know. Regular yearly checkups and vaccinations are crucial to your
approved distemper vaccine for ferrets is Fervac-D. Another USDA
approved distemper vaccine for ferrets, PureVax by Meriel, has
recently come onto the market as well.
that have never been vaccinated or that have an unknown vaccination
history will need 2-3 distemper booster shots within the first year
and then one shot every year after that. A ferret knowledgeable vet
will know the protocol for how many weeks apart the booster shots should
be given. Ferrets from pet stores have almost always had the first of
their 3 distemper booster shots.
distemper is highly contagious and fatal to ferrets. Even if your ferret
never goes outside, distemper is so contagious that your ferret could
catch it by your unknowingly picking it up on your clothes or shoes
while walking outside and bringing it into your home. There has been
no indication that ferrets are susceptible to feline distemper.
your ferret has a medical condition that makes vaccinating it unwise
(ill pets should not be vaccinated), keep it up to date on its distemper
vaccinations. Distemper is a horrible preventable fatal disease.
approved rabies vaccination for ferrets is Imrab-3. Ferrets should
be vaccinated against rabies once a year.
in ferrets is extremely rare. It's practically impossible for a ferret
to catch rabies. Even ferrets precisely injected with rabies in laboratories
show a high immunity to the disease. There has never been a case of
a ferret transmitting rabies to a human being.
vaccinate your ferret against rabies? Because it could save your ferret's
life. If your ferret is accused of biting someone (whether or not it
actually did), proof that your ferret is up to date on its rabies vaccinations
could keep the entire incident from being reported (because if it is
reported and you live in NYC your ferret will be confiscated)
and, in many cases, proof of current rabies vaccination might result
in your ferret being quarantined for 10 days instead of immediately
killed and decapitated to test for rabies.
VACCINATIONS FOR FERRETS ARE THE LAW IN NY STATE
But apparently NOT for NYC.
law went into effect on November 20th 2002 mandating that
all dogs, cats, and domesticated ferrets in New York State be
vaccinated for rabies. The law does NOT appear to apply to New
law also grants an exemption if:
against rabies would adversely affect the animal's health, as
determined by a licensed veterinarian... [If an exemption is
granted for health reasons, the]...veterinarian shall provide
the owner of the dog, cat or domesticated ferret with a certified
statement verifying that the animal is exempt from immunization
because the immunization would adversely affect the health of
the animal, and verifying the nature and duration of such exemption.
The certified statement shall be in a form prescribed by the
commissioner and shall be consistent with the requirements of
section one hundred nine of the agriculture and markets law.
Medical exemptions are to be renewed on an annual basis."
of interest, for NY State residents with tight budgets, is the
clinic for rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and domesticated
ferrets of persons with local residence shall be conducted at
least every four months within the county under the direction
of the county government, by the health officials of the county
and the several local health districts within a county. Donations
may be requested but not required at the clinics. Any listing
of costs in clinic announcements or advertisements must indicate
that VACCINATIONS ARE AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE (emphasis
ours), and that donations are optional. Counties may at their
option provide vaccination clinic services to persons without
county residence, and may require a fee based on cost from these
rabies vaccinations do not appear to be required for ferrets
in NYC at this time, we strongly urge you to keep your ferrets'
rabies vaccinations up to date.
If your ferret is accused of biting someone (whether or not it
actually did), proof that your ferret is up to date on its rabies
vaccinations could save your ferret's life. It could keep the
entire incident from being reported (because if it is reported
and you live in NYC your ferret will be confiscated) and,
in many cases, proof of current rabies vaccination might result
in your ferret being quarantined for 10 days instead of immediately
killed to test for rabies.
note about allergic reactions to vaccines:
Fear of allergic
reactions should not prevent you from keeping your ferret up to date on
its shots. If a ferret has had a mild allergic reaction to a vaccine in
the past, some vets will pre-treat the ferret with Benadryl the following
year before giving vaccinations. If a ferret has had a severe allergic
reaction or if the ferret has a chronic illness, many vets will advise
against future vaccinations for that ferret due to the increase in health
following precautions when having your ferret vaccinated:
have your ferret vaccinated as early
in the day
your ferret vaccinated on a day when your vet will be available all
in the event of an emergency:
-And ideally the next day as well. i.e. If your vet doesn't work weekends,
then late in the day on Friday would not be a good time to have
your ferret vaccinated!
at your vet's office for an hour after the vaccine is given:
vaccine reactions happen within 30 minutes after receiving shots, but
stay an hour just to be safe. (Bring a book to read.)
an eye on your pet for any delayed reactions that might occur within
the next 48 hours:
Most, but not all, allergic reactions happen within 30 minutes of receiving
the vaccine, but it's a good idea to keep an eye on your pet for the
next 48 hours in case of a delayed reaction to the vaccine.
rabies and distemper vaccinations by at least 2 weeks:
Many vets like to give both rabies and distemper vaccinations during
the same visit. Whenever possible, have rabies vaccines and distemper
vaccines administered separately at least 2 weeks apart to reduce
the chances of an allergic reaction to either or both vaccines.
If you ask, most vets will not charge you for the second visit if you
arrange come back two weeks later ONLY for the second shot. They'll
simply charge you for the injection. In other words, the cost will be
the same as if you'd had both shots done on the same day.
In the event
of a vaccine reaction, immediate veterinary help will be needed to save
your pet's life. Your pet may never have a vaccine reaction, but because
vaccine reactions can be fatal, it's worth it to take the precautions
More Information On Ferrets