Nursing Care             forSick and Post Surgical Ferrets          Presented at the     June 2011 IFC Symposium          ...
Topics Why in-home care The basics Special concerns   Ill ferrets   Elderly ferrets   Rescued/found ferrets Measuri...
Disclaimer I’m not a vet This information is based on my  personal experience This info is to be used with your vet’s  ...
Why in-home post-surgical care?
Less expensive Most ferrets don’t  need much more  than food, water,  warmth and meds.
Better hour-by-hour care You will be caring  for only one ferret You can check on  them more often
Ferret is more comfortable A gentle  roommate can  make a difference   Helps keep them    warm   Comforting
Ferret is more comfortable Ferret is in a  familiar  environment   Vet’s office is bright,    noisy and stressful
Familiar food Special food can be  misplaced They might not be  enthused about  whole prey Storage could be a  problem
Familiar food Sick ferrets like  their familiar  duck soup   At the right    temperature, too!
Ferrets respond to affection No one loves your  ferret like you do They will often eat  just to please you Sometimes th...
The Basics Hydration Temperature  regulation Food Medication
Hydration—Very Important
Hydration Dehydrated  ferret won’t eat  or drink Slows recovery Damages  kidneys
Check for tented skin Back of neck   Easy   Affected by    weight loss Belly   A little harder but    more accurate
Neck pinch
Neck pinchIf the skinstays up,that meansthe ferret isdehydrated
Belly pinch
Belly pinchThe longer itstays up, themoredehydratedthey are
Sub-Q Fluids                 You’re               going to do                 what?!
Sub-Q Fluids Sub-q stands for “subcutaneous” The fluids make a “camel hump” that is  absorbed slowly                    ...
Sub-Q fluids can save a life If severely  dehydrated, they  don’t absorb oral  fluids very well
Sub-Q is not that hard It can be done  easily at home It’s hard to do it  wrong Air bubbles under  the skin won’t kill ...
Sub-Q Fluids are IV fluids You get them from  your vet Different kinds are  used for different  things
To start, you need IV fluid …
… a 25-35cc syringe …
… and needles Some people use  22 gauge needles
Butterfly needles can be used
You need a distraction Ferretone, Nutrical or other tasty treat
A helper is nice Optional, but nice Helps by holding  the ferret Will leave both  your hands free
Draw fluid into the syringe
Use a fresh needle each time Goes into skin  easier Warm fluid is  nice
Give it in the scruff “Reverse  scruff” the  ferret Make a “tent”
Insert needle parallel to body Apply  pressure and  fluid will go in  slowly Not too fast
Sub-Q tips Hang on tight Don’t get bitten Pinch hole to help it  close Leakage is common A little blood is  common
How much, how often? Give 25-35cc two or three times a day Need around 60-90 cc of fluid a day Duck soup counts
Temperature Keep the ferret warm, but not hot If he is very sleepy, he won’t move Snuggle-Safe Disk     Doesn’t get TO...
Food: Fast recovery needs fuel Canned a/d Chicken baby  food Homemade duck  soup Hint:   A Gerber baby    food jar fi...
After surgery They can have hard  food unless the vet  says not to They usually prefer  a soupy duck soup
Small amounts frequently At first, just a little Don’t force them to eat  right away if they don’t  want to By the next...
Sick ferrets like it soupy Should pour like  soup They like it warm Put a towel down  so they can stand  more easily
Getting them to eat duck soup
Start with it on your finger Hold them if they  aren’t cooperating From finger, go to  a spoon From a spoon, go  to a b...
If you have to force-feed A feeding  syringe with an  “O-ring” lasts  the longest
How to force-feed Scruff ferret Dribble a little at a  time into front of  mouth Give them a break  from time to time ...
When to stop trying If they clamp their teeth shut and refuse  to swallow, reconsider if you should be  forcing them to e...
Medications: Ask questions! Name, dosage, how  often. What is it supposed to  do? Given how long,  refrigerated, expira...
Medications: Check it Read the instructions back  to the vet Check the bottle when you  get it   Vet techs and pharmaci...
Medication tips   Give meds near back    of mouth   Make sure you have a    good grip on the ferret   It’s easier to de...
Keep track of meds Make a schedule   It’s much easier to remember   You can give accurate info to the vet         9:15 ...
Pain Control Ask about pain control Most vets give a pain shot   Ask to be sure   If not, request something Ferrets h...
Stitches: Concerns You can get stitches  wet if needed Some watery blood  leaking out is normal Call your vet if you  s...
Stitches: Avoid problems No climbing for a  week with abdominal  surgery   Take out hammock Day 4-5 is when  stitches s...
Stitches: Scabs If scabs keep forming  after a few days,  something is going on  (usually infection)   Not always seriou...
Stitches: Bulging is bad Soft and puffy Bulging out Red, hot, swollen   A slight hard bulge is normal. You’re feeling ...
Stitches: If they rip open If you can see intestines, use sterile  gauze moistened with saline to wrap the  ferret. Trans...
Staples Usually heal quickly Sometimes will rotate as skin heals   If loose, remove before they rotate   Get a staple-...
Keep on top of things Keep a log   List time & amount of feedings   List time and amount of medications   List changes...
Elderly ferrets Keep track of:   weight gain/loss   temperature   breathing   activity level   color of: skin, urine...
Rescues: Special concerns   Dehydration   Weight loss   Ear mites   Fleas, ticks   Wounds   Intestinal    parasites
Rescues: Special concerns   Heat/cold   Tooth damage   ADV   Distemper   Quarantine!
Measuring, math and mixing
Measuring medication mL stands for milliliter 1mL = 1cc Marks are 0.1, 0.2,  0.3, etc. So 0.5 is half  a mL Use the ze...
Measuring medication Use the top of the  plunger This syringe is at 0.2mL
Measuring medication The arrow is pointing at  0.4mL
Measuring medication Here, the arrow is  pointing at 0.45 –  halfway between 0.4  and 0.5 You would place the  top of th...
The math of medication mL = milliliter, wet measure mg = milligram, dry measure Know which one your vet is using
Know your pills The capsules are 250mg Amoxicillin The tablet is 875mg Amoxicillin
CompoundingYour vet prescribes 25mg Amoxicillin twicea day. You have a 250mg capsule.   Empty capsule into small containe...
CompoundingYour vet prescribes 25mg Amoxicillin twicea day. You have an 875mg tablet.   Crush tablet (use two spoons, pil...
CompoundingYour ferret needs 2mg of azathioprine (likeImuran) once a day. You have a 50mg tablet.You’re told it can be mix...
Medication tips   Unless told otherwise, store liquid medications in    refrigerator   Once mixed, Amoxicillin is no goo...
Serious problems   Pale gums, ears, nose   Heavy, labored or fast breathing   Collapse/coma   Yellow skin   Orange or...
A few bloodwork norms fromhttp://www.miamiferret.org/fhc/physiology.htm   Rectal temperature: 101-103   PVC 45-60   WBC...
Sources Ferret Universe     http://www.ferret-universe.com/       Blood values       Drugs used in ferrets       Info...
Duck soup: My recipe   10 lb chicken legs    and thighs   Put in crock pot,    cover with water and    cook for 24 hours...
Duck soup: Other versions 1 can A/D and 2  jars chicken baby  food, water Ground up kibble,  a/d, chicken baby  food, wa...
Thank you!!
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Nursing care of post-surgical, sick and debilitated ferrets

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The slides from the presentation I did at the IFC meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 2011

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Nursing care of post-surgical, sick and debilitated ferrets

  1. 1. Nursing Care forSick and Post Surgical Ferrets Presented at the June 2011 IFC Symposium by Barb Carlson
  2. 2. Topics Why in-home care The basics Special concerns  Ill ferrets  Elderly ferrets  Rescued/found ferrets Measuring, math and mixing meds
  3. 3. Disclaimer I’m not a vet This information is based on my personal experience This info is to be used with your vet’s help not in place of it
  4. 4. Why in-home post-surgical care?
  5. 5. Less expensive Most ferrets don’t need much more than food, water, warmth and meds.
  6. 6. Better hour-by-hour care You will be caring for only one ferret You can check on them more often
  7. 7. Ferret is more comfortable A gentle roommate can make a difference  Helps keep them warm  Comforting
  8. 8. Ferret is more comfortable Ferret is in a familiar environment  Vet’s office is bright, noisy and stressful
  9. 9. Familiar food Special food can be misplaced They might not be enthused about whole prey Storage could be a problem
  10. 10. Familiar food Sick ferrets like their familiar duck soup  At the right temperature, too!
  11. 11. Ferrets respond to affection No one loves your ferret like you do They will often eat just to please you Sometimes they need a reason to stay
  12. 12. The Basics Hydration Temperature regulation Food Medication
  13. 13. Hydration—Very Important
  14. 14. Hydration Dehydrated ferret won’t eat or drink Slows recovery Damages kidneys
  15. 15. Check for tented skin Back of neck  Easy  Affected by weight loss Belly  A little harder but more accurate
  16. 16. Neck pinch
  17. 17. Neck pinchIf the skinstays up,that meansthe ferret isdehydrated
  18. 18. Belly pinch
  19. 19. Belly pinchThe longer itstays up, themoredehydratedthey are
  20. 20. Sub-Q Fluids You’re going to do what?!
  21. 21. Sub-Q Fluids Sub-q stands for “subcutaneous” The fluids make a “camel hump” that is absorbed slowly I prefer my fluids on the outside.
  22. 22. Sub-Q fluids can save a life If severely dehydrated, they don’t absorb oral fluids very well
  23. 23. Sub-Q is not that hard It can be done easily at home It’s hard to do it wrong Air bubbles under the skin won’t kill the ferret
  24. 24. Sub-Q Fluids are IV fluids You get them from your vet Different kinds are used for different things
  25. 25. To start, you need IV fluid …
  26. 26. … a 25-35cc syringe …
  27. 27. … and needles Some people use 22 gauge needles
  28. 28. Butterfly needles can be used
  29. 29. You need a distraction Ferretone, Nutrical or other tasty treat
  30. 30. A helper is nice Optional, but nice Helps by holding the ferret Will leave both your hands free
  31. 31. Draw fluid into the syringe
  32. 32. Use a fresh needle each time Goes into skin easier Warm fluid is nice
  33. 33. Give it in the scruff “Reverse scruff” the ferret Make a “tent”
  34. 34. Insert needle parallel to body Apply pressure and fluid will go in slowly Not too fast
  35. 35. Sub-Q tips Hang on tight Don’t get bitten Pinch hole to help it close Leakage is common A little blood is common
  36. 36. How much, how often? Give 25-35cc two or three times a day Need around 60-90 cc of fluid a day Duck soup counts
  37. 37. Temperature Keep the ferret warm, but not hot If he is very sleepy, he won’t move Snuggle-Safe Disk  Doesn’t get TOO hot  No wires  No electricity  Non-toxic
  38. 38. Food: Fast recovery needs fuel Canned a/d Chicken baby food Homemade duck soup Hint:  A Gerber baby food jar filled to the top is 60 cc
  39. 39. After surgery They can have hard food unless the vet says not to They usually prefer a soupy duck soup
  40. 40. Small amounts frequently At first, just a little Don’t force them to eat right away if they don’t want to By the next day they should be able to eat They need at least 60cc of liquid food daily
  41. 41. Sick ferrets like it soupy Should pour like soup They like it warm Put a towel down so they can stand more easily
  42. 42. Getting them to eat duck soup
  43. 43. Start with it on your finger Hold them if they aren’t cooperating From finger, go to a spoon From a spoon, go to a bowl If they eat from the bowl, rejoice!
  44. 44. If you have to force-feed A feeding syringe with an “O-ring” lasts the longest
  45. 45. How to force-feed Scruff ferret Dribble a little at a time into front of mouth Give them a break from time to time You can fit 18cc in a ferret stomach, minimum
  46. 46. When to stop trying If they clamp their teeth shut and refuse to swallow, reconsider if you should be forcing them to eat Don’t force feed if they are blocked Don’t try to feed if unconscious
  47. 47. Medications: Ask questions! Name, dosage, how often. What is it supposed to do? Given how long, refrigerated, expiration Write things down
  48. 48. Medications: Check it Read the instructions back to the vet Check the bottle when you get it  Vet techs and pharmacies can make mistakes
  49. 49. Medication tips Give meds near back of mouth Make sure you have a good grip on the ferret It’s easier to depress plunger when held like this
  50. 50. Keep track of meds Make a schedule  It’s much easier to remember  You can give accurate info to the vet 9:15 8:30 9:30 8:45 9:15 8:30
  51. 51. Pain Control Ask about pain control Most vets give a pain shot  Ask to be sure  If not, request something Ferrets heal much better when pain is controlled
  52. 52. Stitches: Concerns You can get stitches wet if needed Some watery blood leaking out is normal Call your vet if you see deep red blood dripping for more than hour
  53. 53. Stitches: Avoid problems No climbing for a week with abdominal surgery  Take out hammock Day 4-5 is when stitches start to dissolve  Watch for problems
  54. 54. Stitches: Scabs If scabs keep forming after a few days, something is going on (usually infection)  Not always serious but should be addressed  Check with vet for instructions
  55. 55. Stitches: Bulging is bad Soft and puffy Bulging out Red, hot, swollen  A slight hard bulge is normal. You’re feeling internal stitches
  56. 56. Stitches: If they rip open If you can see intestines, use sterile gauze moistened with saline to wrap the ferret. Transport immediately. If you only see flesh, not as serious  Call the vet for instructions
  57. 57. Staples Usually heal quickly Sometimes will rotate as skin heals  If loose, remove before they rotate  Get a staple-remover on the Internet As they loosen, they can get caught on things – no climbing!
  58. 58. Keep on top of things Keep a log  List time & amount of feedings  List time and amount of medications  List changes in symptoms Take the log with you to the vet’s office or have it next to the phone when you call  More information helps the vet know what to do Know what the poop looks like
  59. 59. Elderly ferrets Keep track of:  weight gain/loss  temperature  breathing  activity level  color of: skin, urine, poop  how much water they are drinking  what and how much they eat
  60. 60. Rescues: Special concerns Dehydration Weight loss Ear mites Fleas, ticks Wounds Intestinal parasites
  61. 61. Rescues: Special concerns Heat/cold Tooth damage ADV Distemper Quarantine!
  62. 62. Measuring, math and mixing
  63. 63. Measuring medication mL stands for milliliter 1mL = 1cc Marks are 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc. So 0.5 is half a mL Use the zero and the decimal point – it avoids confusion
  64. 64. Measuring medication Use the top of the plunger This syringe is at 0.2mL
  65. 65. Measuring medication The arrow is pointing at 0.4mL
  66. 66. Measuring medication Here, the arrow is pointing at 0.45 – halfway between 0.4 and 0.5 You would place the top of the plunger at that line
  67. 67. The math of medication mL = milliliter, wet measure mg = milligram, dry measure Know which one your vet is using
  68. 68. Know your pills The capsules are 250mg Amoxicillin The tablet is 875mg Amoxicillin
  69. 69. CompoundingYour vet prescribes 25mg Amoxicillin twicea day. You have a 250mg capsule. Empty capsule into small container 250mg capsule/25mg dose = 10 doses. Add 10mL of water and the dose is 1mL. If you add 5mL of water, the dose would be 0.5mL.
  70. 70. CompoundingYour vet prescribes 25mg Amoxicillin twicea day. You have an 875mg tablet. Crush tablet (use two spoons, pill crusher or mortar and pestle) 875mg tablet/25mg per dose = 35 doses If you add 35mL of water, the dose is 1mL If you add 17.5mL of water (half), the dose is 0.5mL
  71. 71. CompoundingYour ferret needs 2mg of azathioprine (likeImuran) once a day. You have a 50mg tablet.You’re told it can be mixed with Lactulose. 50mg tablet/2mg per dose gives you 25 doses If you mix in 25mL of Lactulose, the dose would be 1mL. You can cut everything it in half like we did with the Amoxicillin Grind the pill well and add just a little Lactulose. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the rest, mixing well
  72. 72. Medication tips Unless told otherwise, store liquid medications in refrigerator Once mixed, Amoxicillin is no good after 14 days  If you don’t refrigerate, mixed Amoxicillin goes bad after 24 hours Mix liquid medications before drawing up  Certain meds don’t have to be mixed: Pediapred for example Note the color – if it changes, the meds may be bad Most pills stay good for a long time if kept dry
  73. 73. Serious problems Pale gums, ears, nose Heavy, labored or fast breathing Collapse/coma Yellow skin Orange or green urine Straining in litter box Bulging stitches
  74. 74. A few bloodwork norms fromhttp://www.miamiferret.org/fhc/physiology.htm Rectal temperature: 101-103 PVC 45-60 WBC (x103/mm3) 2.8-8.0 BUN (mg/dl) 8-37 Creatinine (mg/dl) 0.16-0.848 BUN/Creatinine 10-457 Total Protein (g/dl) 4.4-7.3 Hemoglobin (g/dl) 13-18 Albumin (g/dl) 2.5-4.17 Globulin (g/dl) 1.8-2.9 Total Bilirubin (mg/dl) 0.1-0.5 ALT (IU/L) 13-176 Glucose (fasted) (mg/dl) 65-164 (average: 100-110)
  75. 75. Sources Ferret Universe  http://www.ferret-universe.com/  Blood values  Drugs used in ferrets  Info on illnesses Miami Ferret, Ferret Health Care  http://www.miamiferret.org/fhc  Info on illnesses Other sources of good info:  How to check ferret’s blood sugar  http://www.unc.edu/~pjdutche/bloodsugar/
  76. 76. Duck soup: My recipe 10 lb chicken legs and thighs Put in crock pot, cover with water and cook for 24 hours or until bones get soft Grind up solids in food processor, bones and all Add fat and some of the juice to make smooth Freeze in containers
  77. 77. Duck soup: Other versions 1 can A/D and 2 jars chicken baby food, water Ground up kibble, a/d, chicken baby food, water Chicken or turkey baby food, water Look on the Internet for ideas
  78. 78. Thank you!!

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