Ferret neutering advice

Our vet at easipetcare Streatham has owned ferrets for most of his life. Here he shares everything you need to know about getting your ferret spayed or castrated.

Female ferrets can be spayed from 12 weeks of age. Female ferrets come into season usually in spring and summer and an intact female ferret will stay in season until they are mated. If they are not mated, they can experience high levels of oestrogen leading to suppression of their production of red blood cells which can lead to life threatening anaemia. Spaying a female ferret will avoid them cycling and avoid any life threatening issues, and will also significantly reduce the smell from the glands in the skin.

Alternatives to spaying include the following:

Jill jabs. During the breeding season, the vulva will become swollen, at which time a progesterone injection can be given which can last the entire breeding season. A small proportion may need an additional injection and this will not result in reduction of the smell.

Suprelorin implants. These can be used in both males and females but are They stop the ferret from cycling and do not allow impregnation. The implant can be injected at the start of the breeding season and there is a reduction in odour.

(is standard practice in a lot of large ferret populations (such a breeders & rescue centres). Once mated, the female ferret’s cycle will temporarily stop but she would have to be mated multiple times throughout the breeding season.

Male ferrets can be neutered from 12 weeks of age and this either involves castration or a vasectomy. Castration is the removal of testicles and has the advantage of reducing the smell from the skin glands. Vasectomy is the removal of a portion of the spermatic cord, leaving the ferret unable to impregnate a female and if mating with an intact female will temporarily stop her cycling without the risk of a litter. This does not result in reduction of smell and does not reduce aggression.

Neutering can potentially result in a higher likelihood of developing Hyperadrenocorticism. This can lead to hair loss, weight loss, straining to urinate, thinning of skin, swollen vulva, and itchiness. If you wish to discuss this or any other concerns regarding ferret neutering please contact the practice to book a consult with one of our vets.

As with all surgeries there is the risk of post-operative complications and infections, but as long as you follow the advice given on discharge this risk should be minimised J

It is important that ferrets are not fasted the night before their surgery as we see with cats and dogs.  And although we won’t feed them immediately prior to the operation, we do ask you to bring in some ferret food for them so that we can entice them to eat soon after their surgery.

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