Ferret Enrichment Ideas (11 Ways to Keep Your Pet Busy)07/24/2019Ferrets are incredibly playful creatures, but they’re also very intelligent (and mischievous)! It’s important to find ways to stimulate your ferret both mentally and physically, while making sure that they’re safe from harm.Your ferret may sleep for up to 18 hours each day, but once they’re awake they’ll be ready to bounce off the walls, steal yo...
Ferrets are incredibly playful creatures, but they’re also very intelligent (and mischievous)! It’s important to find ways to stimulate your ferret both mentally and physically, while making sure that they’re safe from harm.
Your ferret may sleep for up to 18 hours each day, but once they’re awake they’ll be ready to bounce off the walls, steal your things, escape through a small space, and swallow something they shouldn’t!
How to Keep Your Ferret Busy
Did you know that your ferret can be trained to walk on a harness and leash just like a dog? Many pet stores will sell harness and leash sets for ferrets in their small animal section. If your ferret has never walked on a leash before, start off slow to get them used to the feeling. You can let them wear the harness around the house while you play their favourite games or feed them their favourite food. Once they have gotten used to this, do the same again, but with the leash attached.
The next step is to try going for a little walk in your own backyard. Once you are confident that your ferret is comfortable with going for a walk, it’s time to go to the park! Just make sure your ferret is fully vaccinated, and avoid off-leash areas for your ferrets safety.
Ferrets love to dig, it’s a very natural behaviour for them! You can set up a small sand pit in your own yard, using a half shell childrens pool and play sand (available from Bunnings).
Running through tunnels is another natural behaviour that ferrets love to express. From short crinkly tunnels designed for cats, through to clear plastic tubes designed for ferrets, your ferret will have a fantastic time running through these at lightning speed. You may even see them wag their tail! Just be sure the tunnel isn’t so narrow that your ferret could get stuck.
Ball pits designed for ferrets are available online, however you can also purchase a childrens ball pit from Kmart. Ferrets love to bounce and wriggle through the colourful balls!
All you need for this is a safe area of your home, and your feet! Chase your ferret, and let them chase you. To up the stakes, squeeze a squeaky toy while you run. We bet you’ll get some dooks and a weasel wardance out of it!
All you need for this is a small blanket or towel. Cover your ferret, then suddenly rip the blanket away. Watch them jump for joy!
Magic Carpet Ride
Another easy game to play that just involves your feet and a towel. Choose a long area of your home, like a hallway. Place the towel on the floor, and your ferret on the towel. Now pick up two corners of the towel and run! Ferrets love a magic carpet ride as much as anyone.
This one is just for water babies (those ferrets who just love to get wet!). Water can be added to a half shell pool, along with floating toys, so that your ferret can splash around! The water should be shallow, as we don’t want to risk your ferret inhaling any. Never leave your ferret in the pool unattended. Alternatively, some ferrets will have just as much fun dancing in the shower!
Most cat toys can also be ferret toys! Crinkle sacks are popular due to the fun noise they make, and so are tunnels. Small balls or toy mice that contain a bell will catch your ferrets interest, as will a wand with a toy attached.
Many ferrets also like to climb scratching towers, but should always be supervised, as often they will try to jump once they get to the top. Never leave any toys with your ferret if there are small parts that they can chew off and swallow.
Many dog toys can be ferret toys too! A small Kong can be filled with meat or an egg yolk to give them a challenge, or if you feed kibble, a treat dispensing toy such a Bob-A-Lot can be used. Squeaky toys are also a huge hit, but anything made from rubber should not be used without supervision (ferrets love to chew and swallow rubber things!).
While there are not many commercially available ferret toys available in Australian pet shops, there are many options available to buy online. One brand with many options is Marshall Pet Products.
*** Always supervise your ferret when they are playing with a new toy, and don’t leave toys with your ferret unsupervised unless you’re sure that they are safe ***
The rabbit moulting season is upon us!03/29/2019Attention Rabbit owners! 🐰The rabbit moulting season has been non stop this last few months, which means that your rabbit could be ingesting fur each time they groom themselves or their friends. The most common cause of a bloat (gastric dilation) in rabbits is due to a gastrointestinal obstruction such as a trichobezoar, also known as a pellet of compre...
Attention Rabbit owners! 🐰
The rabbit moulting season has been non stop this last few months, which means that your rabbit could be ingesting fur each time they groom themselves or their friends. The most common cause of a bloat (gastric dilation) in rabbits is due to a gastrointestinal obstruction such as a trichobezoar, also known as a pellet of compressed fur.
When a gastrointestinal blockage occurs, fermentation within the stomach keeps continuing leading to the stomach becoming enlarged/distended with a mix of stomach fluid and gas. If a blockage occurs in the intestines there is now nowhere for the stomach contents to go as rabbits cannot vomit or eructate (burp), which leads to the stomach becoming enlarged or bloated. If this occurs in your rabbit we recommend not to force feed any food, water or medications until a vet has examined and advised whether it is safe to do so.
To diagnose bloat in a rabbit requires abdominal palpation and often radiographs (x-rays) as well as a blood glucose measurement. It is important when your rabbit stops eating to always have a vet palpate the abdomen to rule out the possibility of bloat as symptoms can be quite similar to gut stasis, before treating with any medications.
If a gastrointestinal blockage is confirmed by your vet then there are two main treatment options that are generally available depending on the severity of the bloat – prompt surgery to relieve the obstruction or medical management with fluid therapy, decompression of the stomach with tubes as well as intensive pain relief (often delivered as a constant rate infusion into your bunnies vein via a catheter). We often utilise a combination of both methods depending on the individual case. We have posted a few of these cases on our facebook page if you would like to have a look.
If you would like further information on bloat in rabbits then please contact one of our clinics. You can also check out the following information sheets by clicking on the below links:
Exotic Medicine for Vet Nurses Education Night02/14/2019The Unusual Pet Vets Balcatta and Murdoch clinics are proudly hosting a night of educational talks by a number of our staff in Perth on April 16th 2019. A range of topics will be discussed including: - Dr James Haberfield speaking on nutrition for exotics - Dr Kelly Giles speaking on triaging exotics - Dr Maren Beeston speaking on wing and nail clipping -...
The Unusual Pet Vets Balcatta and Murdoch clinics are proudly hosting a night of educational talks by a number of our staff in Perth on April 16th 2019. A range of topics will be discussed including:
– Dr James Haberfield speaking on nutrition for exotics
– Dr Kelly Giles speaking on triaging exotics
– Dr Maren Beeston speaking on wing and nail clipping
– Dr Luke Bradley
– RVN Ash Smith speaking on handling, restraint and catheter placement in exotics
– RVN Jen Sydenham speaking on rabbits with head tilts, floppy bunnies and hospital care
Details of the evening as follows:
– Cost: $5 entry payable at the door with all profits donated to charity.
– Location: Loneragan Lecture Theatre (Murdoch University), 90 South Street, Murdoch 6150 WA
– Time: 7.30pm
– Date: Tuesday April 16th 2019
– Who can attend? The talks are aimed at veterinary nurses however nursing students, other interested people as well as vets and vet students are all welcome to attend
– How do I reserve my place? Places are strictly limited so RSVP is essential. RSVP with your name and how many places you would like to email@example.com
For more information please check out our facebook page
Our oldest surgical patient yet! 70 years old!01/12/2019Everyone please meet Herbert, a very special patient who was born in the late 1940s, making Herbert 70 years old!!He came in after an accident caused him to break his leg. After being stabilised in hospital he underwent surgery with Dr James and nurse Jess to repair his nasty fracture. The surgery went well and he is heading home to rest up. We wish Herber...
Everyone please meet Herbert, a very special patient who was born in the late 1940s, making Herbert 70 years old!!
He came in after an accident caused him to break his leg. After being stabilised in hospital he underwent surgery with Dr James and nurse Jess to repair his nasty fracture. The surgery went well and he is heading home to rest up. We wish Herbert all the best with his recovery!
Is my Guinea Pig a boy or a girl? Guinea Pig Reproduction 10110/16/2018Guinea pigs are growing in popularity as pets and we are starting to see more and more of them come through our clinics. They can make fantastic pets and are full of personality, however do require more care than many people think. We get lots of questions about guinea pig reproduction and desexing so I thought I would cover some of our more frequently a...
Guinea pigs are growing in popularity as pets and we are starting to see more and more of them come through our clinics. They can make fantastic pets and are full of personality, however do require more care than many people think. We get lots of questions about guinea pig reproduction and desexing so I thought I would cover some of our more frequently asked questions today.
How do I tell the gender of my guinea pig?
We often see cases where guinea pigs have been incorrectly identified as the wrong sex. A common scenario is when someone purchases two guinea pigs and are told they are two males or females. A month or so later they go to check the guinea pigs and find that all of a sudden there is a heap of babies running around! They then bring the guinea pigs in for us to check and we see that they actually had a male and a female that are now proud parents!
The above scenario is all too common and because of this we recommend that you bring any guinea pig that is recently purchased in for a health check and also to confirm their gender. We use a number of techniques to do this depending on their age, some of which include:
- Identifying if there are testicles present. Guinea pig males have well developed testicles that are generally easy to see on adults. In young guinea pigs they often haven’t yet descended making this technique more difficult.
- Analyzing their reproductive anatomy. Males generally have a lower case “ i “ shape to their anatomy whereas females generally have a upper case “Y” appearance.
- Palpating for ovaries in females – this technique should only be done by an experienced guinea pig vet
When can they start to reproduce?
Guinea pig males should be separated from any females, including their mothers and sisters, by around 4 weeks of age as in some cases they can be reproductively active from then. Most take a bit longer however it is best to be safe.
How many babies can they have?
Most guinea pigs have 2-4 pups (babies) however we have seen up to 12 at times, there are also reports of even larger litters.
How long do they take to develop and what do the babies look like?
The average gestation period (time developing inside the mother guinea pig) is around 63-72 days. This is much longer than many other small mammals like rabbits (who average 30-33 days). As their gestation period is much longer guinea pigs come out fully furred and looking like mini-adults (precocial young). They generally take 3-6 weeks to wean completely from their mother but can start eating some solid food from a few days of age.
Should I have my guinea pig de-sexed?
We recommend routine de-sexing (sterilisation) for all guinea pigs unless you are planning to breed them. The reasons are that it helps to prevent the following conditions from occurring:
- Faecal impaction in males – this is where the male’s testicles and fat that is located around the testicles develop and start to stretch the skin. This can stop the guinea pig from being able to defecate normally in some cases and generally means that they need to have that area cleaned out at least once a day (often more regularly) by their owner.
- Cystic ovarian disease in females – This is very common with some studies showing three out of four guinea pigs will develop this problem if left unsterilised. Cysts don’t generally always cause problems but when they do they can lead to hair loss, irritation and pain.
- Reproductive cancers – these are seen commonly in both male and female guinea pigs
What is involved in the desexing surgery?
Every vet works a little bit differently but in most cases your guinea pig is dropped off in the morning to the vet clinic and then goes home late in the afternoon that day. During their visit they will have surgery under a full general anaesthetic to remove the main parts of their reproductive tract.
What are some common problems that occur with their pregnancy?
When guinea pig females (sows) reach 6-12 months of age their pelvis generally starts to ‘ossify’ which means that it can no longer separate to allow them to pass their babies if they become pregnant and haven’t been bred before. This doesn’t happen in all cases but when it does we generally need to perform a caesarian to remove the pups (guinea pig babies).
We also see a condition called pregnancy toxaemia in guinea pigs that are fed a sub-optimal diet so it is very important to make sure they are getting what they need.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have clinics in Perth and Melbourne but can also be reached by our website (www.unusualpetvets.com.au) and social media pages.1 2 3 4 … 15 16 17 Next Contact Us Now