Today I was at Petco with my boyfriend (he was finally buying his gerbils). Apparently an owner had dropped off a ferret there with them saying that they didn't have time for it anymore. The poor girl was in pretty bad shape. She stunk pretty bad and you could see dirty spots on her. Her coat was really rough and messy, ears disgusting. The cage was pretty dirty, no litter box, shelves with all kinds of stuff on them, and the bedding looks like the pebbly stuff I've seen at Petco mainly advertised for reptiles. And her nails...I don't even know -how- they got to the point they were in. Not only were they all really long, three of the nails have grown to the point of being long and "thick" is the only way I can think to describe it. Kind of yellowish, in an unusual ferret way. Plus she didn't have any food in there at all. Needless to say, we brought her home with us. We've named her Bucky (I know...not very feminine but it has signifigance for us.
For now, I have her cage in the living room away from my kids and any of my roommates animals. First thing I did was give her some food, which she ate a little bit of but not a whole lot. Then I went to cutting her nails. My first question is can nails die? The three that were -really- long and thick didn't seem to have a quick (sp?). I can't tell if I just can't see it since the nail isn't really clear, if it's not there at all, or if it's just pulled way back to the toe for some reason. Since I couldn't see the quick on those three, I trimmed as much as seemed safe cause I really didn't want to traumatize her by catching it. I'll have to cut them all again in a few days after the quick pulls back on 'em anyway.
The bath went really well and she's so much prettier now. She's actually quite the cutie. Her coats not too soft right now, but it's a lot better than before. The poor thing is so tiny it's ridiculous. It's amazing how sweet and gentle she is considering the shape she's in. She was so quiet and calm during the nail trim and bath, though she was shaking a bit so obviously she was kind of scared. The only time she got upset was when we cleaned her ears. I can't tell if it's just been a really long time since they've been cleaned or if the wax is ear-mite related so I'll wait a few days and see what they're looking like.
I honestly don't have a clue as to how old she might be. The owner said they got her from the Petco "not that long ago", but who knows how accurate that is. Her size makes her look really young, but the length of her nails and her full teeth says she's not a baby anymore.
I've never had a ferret in this condition before since I got all four of my others as babies. I'd appreciate any hints or tips from anyone. Should I give her some Ferretvite to maybe try and kick her appetite into gear? On the issue of shots, supposedly she's up to date. I'd prefer to get her another round of them though anyway. Can you give them a second rabies/distemper shot if they're up to date? Also any ideas about the nails would be very helpful. I've never seen any animals' look like that so I really don't know what's going on there. I'm going to ask the vet I work for tomorrow what he thinks, but I'm going to check here before I head to work in the morning. I'll keep ya'll updated on how Little Bucky's doing.