Opinion/Advice please! (Nancy) - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2004, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Opinion/Advice please! (Nancy)

Since you have more experience with older ferrets I was wondering if you could give me a couple ideas here.

I noticed about a week ago Snoopy had lost some hair on the tip of his tail. (nowhere else though.)

The thought of adrenal did go through my mind, but because it was the tip & not the base I was not as alarmed sincer there were some blackheads. I had been cleaning his tail a couple times a day & the hair started growing back. BUT...
this morning I was sitting in front of their cage and looked up at him & notices a HUGE patch of fur gone on his back. It is not gone bald, as in someone shaved him smooth, but gone like all the long hair fell out, it is falling out in clumps when you pet him.

He also has a small spot on his chest:

I don't see any signs of fleas but did notice a couple small scabs near his upper body. I am assuming from him scratching. He is about 3 years old and has never had any health problems.

Now in what I have found this could be multiple things...
Poor Nutrition, seasonal coat change, stress, adrenal, flea allergy just to name a few.
I am pretty possitive it isn't fleas... but I know we have talked about mites in corn cob bedding... could this be something related? Also I did just recently switch foods (which shortly after is when I first noticed the tip of his tail). I am going to get some carefresh & see if that makes a difference. Also I am fully prepared to take him to the vet. I just know that there is no "sure fire" way to tell if it is adrenal or not and the vet I have been going to I am not all that confidant with when it comes to her knowledge of ferrets. I am in process of finding a new vet with more experience & knowledge, but so far have been unsuccessful.

Before I freak out (more than I already have) & jump the gun I wanted to talk to someone very knowledgable in this situation, as I am still learing.

Anything you can throw my way I would be most greatful!!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2004, 11:18 PM
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well, from just looking at the pics, I'm not thinking adrenal disease right away (especially since the undercoat is still there, and it looks like only the guard hairs have fallen out and no bald spots/bare skin showing). Looks more like an ugly shed to me. Some of mine have had some funky coat sheds over the years.
I'd take him outside or hold him over a garbage can and pluck the loose, dead fur out...or even brush it out....while a soft bristle brush works ok, try the wire bristle (slicker) brushes. They tend to grab the loose hair a lot better.
Not sure if the chest patch is part of the shed or not, but it may very well be. Keep an eye on it. Also start giving him Petromalt or another hairball laxative to keep any ingested fur moving through his system and to keep him from developing a hairball in his stomach. If you don't have hairball laxative on hand, regular vaseline/petroleum jelly works just as well.
The "rat tail" can also be seasonal or stress related. What are you cleaning the tail with? Remember not to clean it too often...you don't want to dry out the skin or damage the follicles.
I honestly wouldn't worry about it. It looks a lot worse than it is (hey, it's part of a ferret's job to give us grey hairs from worrying lol).
The hair should grow back within a couple of weeks (maybe sooner) He's probably shedding out his winter coat, and the new one will look a lot shorter and sleeker...giving him the appearance of being thinner and/or leaner. Don't let his appearance alarm you
If the hair loss gets worse and you start seeing bald patches or other unusual symptoms or behavior, then a trip to the vet may be in order. btw, coat sheds sometimes make ferrets itchy, so you may be seeing that also
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2004, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Nancy!! I also posted on TFF and a couple of the people said pretty much the same thing. He's blowing coat. I ALWAYS keep ferretlax on hand so that wasn't a problem but wen't & got more anyway jic. I was also told to give him a little ferretone to help with the itchy skin. Also the plucking of the loose hair.

I had him out tonight & was working on him a little... my baby looks funny I think I was so worried cause none of my ferts had ever shed like this before. And I would be over-worried then ignore it & lose him yanno. Of course I will still keep an eye on him but so ofar NO bald spots at all.... and the chest hair isn't nearly as bad as the back is.

As for his tail someone suggested to use Stridex acne pads to clean the tail. I am using the non-alcohol with aloe. Only once a day though.then rinsing it with clear water. Should I continue with those or just use warm soap & water?

Since this is the first time he has shed like this I have one more question... is it normal for them to be grumpy during this?? Normal he is a loveable baby and right now he is trying to bite if you hold him too long & wants nothing to do with anyone. I am assuming this is due to the fact that he is probably uncomfortable??

Thanks for all your help Nancy! I'll keep you updated as well!
(am I right to assume my girls will eventually go through this also?)
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-13-2004, 01:52 AM
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yeah, they do look funny, don't they? I'd rather see someone be over-worried than not worried at all. And, yes, girls can go through this too, not just the boys
I used Stridex in the past on one little girl we had that came in as a rescue...her tail was completely bald and so full of blackheads it was purple in color. Hers took a while to get rid of...and it took forever for the fur to grow back. Even though it did grow back, it was a very thin growth of fur. Hers was a rare case though, as bad as it was, and some of the hair follicles had probably been destroyed due to her rat tail being so bad. My intact ferrets occasionally get the same thing, though it's usually referred to as "stud tail". It happens due to all the oil buildup due to hormones. I used to worry quite a bit about it; I think it bothered me more than it did them lol However, my guys' stud tails went away on their own without any treatment and the fur grew back in normally. Sometimes just leaving it alone is as good as scrubbing it
Stridex is fine to use, but watch for any excessive drying of the skin. That can and will happen if Stridex is used too often. If you see that happening, space out the cleanings by several days instead of every day. You can also use regular ferret shampoo and warm water. Some people have used Neutrogena, Clean n' Clear(?) facial scrub and believe it or not I've added a few drops of Dawn liquid dish soap to their shampoo and it also works (seriously, it does get the grease out lol).
I have noticed some of my crew does get kind of cranky during their coat sheds and the seasonal changes. It affects every ferret differently....some get cranky, some get more high strung than usual, some get lethargic and sleep a lot....and some are just "out of sorts"

Last edited by Nancy; 06-13-2004 at 01:54 AM.
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adrenal disease, corn cob, corn cob bedding, hair loss

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