Hope was one of the 9 rescues that I got on the 12th of July 99. I immediately separated them from the other 5 jills and kept her in a cage in the ferret room to keep an eye on her and care for her. Hope was terribly thin and had partial hair loss on her neck and shoulders...
Hope when I first got her:
Of course I soon felt very protective of her and decided to keep her so that the rest of her life would be happy and free of any worries. She is about 7 to 8 years old and I'm sure she has cataracts starting in her eyes.
In the beginning Hope only ate the famous "mush" (ground TF with water) but after a couple of weeks she started eating dry TF. I also put her in a cage with Rose and Hope was really happy and mothered Rose and Rose enjoyed all the attention.
Hope is doing well and has put weight on and also re-grown her hair on her shoulders. She is still thin around her shoulders but has a nice tummy and I'm sure she'll put more weight on in the next few weeks.
End of November '99 now and Hope is fine but I found out that she didn't like the dry ferret kibble and only ate enough to stay alive. I then started feeding her tinned cat food which she enjoyed but then I thought of feeding mince and now I get this frozen free flow chicken pet mince and I lightly cook it in the microwave for her and add a vitamin/ mineral powder and she loves her mince and wouldn't go back to tinned food now which I found out when I ran out of mince and gave her tinned cat food and she sniffed it and then looked at me like she was asking me where her meat was...
Hope's not been well, she's been loosing hair and scratching a lot and I was worried because she hadn't come into season and had blue around her teats so I finally took her to the vets Wednesday 12/4/00... There was a new lady vet and she's really nice and knows a lot and she felt around Hope's abdomen and Hope had a walnut sized growth in there... It didn't seem to be attached to anything and the vet thought it may be ovarian cyst or tumour so Hope got booked in for surgery a day later. I was crying my eyes out all day Wednesday and Thursday morning until I got really depressed and felt all numb again. I really didn't think we'd get Hope back. She came in with hair loss on her shoulder last July and then the hair grew back and at the beginning of this year she started loosing it and the last few weeks she just rapidly lost her hair at the tip of her tail and then the back and it was progressing forwards. So of course I thought she must have had that tumour all this time so it's probably spread all over... But then Thursday morning I thought if it had spread all over then she would be very ill but she was doing okay, slept more than the kids and had less energy but when she was up she was fine. So I was hoping that it was a cyst and that it wasn't anything nasty. Well, the vet phoned just before 2.00 p.m. and told me that Hope had this big tumour on one of her ovaries and that they had removed it and spayed her completely. We went to fetch her at 4.30 and when we got home I gave her cat milk mixed with warm water and she drank loads and then she had some mush. The cut looks alright, big but the stitching is neat. I mean they had to get a walnut sized tumour out and not just tiny ovaries and womb... Louise also told me she had a look at the liver and other organs but she couldn't see any nodules so hopefully the cancer hasn't spread. She said there could be tiny ones that were too small to see but we'll have to wait and see.
Now a week later Hope is doing *great*! She was more active than Rose and Jasmine were after their spay. They were nice and quiet for about 3 days but Hope was a little madam! I had her in a big aquarium on her own and in our bedroom so I could hear her at night. Friday morning I woke up and she was climbing around the aquarium, it has those 2 glass bars in one corner to fix water bottles in there and after a while she was quiet. A bit later Pete sits up in bed and says "You know Hope is out?" I'd forgot to put the wire lid back on and that little thing climbed out. So Pete put the lid back on but she kept trying to get out... Sooo active! When we got up we let her have a little run, she is sooo well! :-) I also had a look underneath her to make sure her stitches were still intact after all the climbing and stretching she'd done and the stitches were fine. :-) She's been out with the babies every day and has been a lot more active, usually she'd have a run for 5 minutes and then go to her bed in my bedroom or she'd go there straight after I let her out but now she runs around so much, she must be feeling a whole lot better! :-)
Hope 10 days after her surgery, the hairloss seems to have stopped, just as well otherwise she'd be completely bold... :-( So hopefully she'll soon re-grow her hair *and* put on weight now that the tumour is out...
Well, the hairloss didn't stop and soon (2-3 weeks after the operation) she was practically bold... :-(
But when she was all hairless, grey colour started appearing over her body and soon she was a pink and grey ferret! ;-) Looked really funny. And then all the hair just started growing, Hope was and still is very itchy when all the new hair was coming through the skin but now most of it has grown and she's only growing some more on her tummy and around the sides so the itching and scratching is getting less frequent. This is what she looks like now, just a bit over 4 weeks after her op:
Hope has become less energetic again though. She was really hyper for about 7-10 days after her op and then began to slow down again. Until she only slept and didn't run around at all. I think it may have to do with her growing a new coat and the itching, when she was up, all she did was scratch... It looked really bad. I put tea tree oil on her, it was for animal use and I thought it may help her with her itching... It did do some good. I just hope she'll get her energy back once her coat is all grown and the itchiness has disappeared... She has filled out a bit though and doesn't feel as thin as before although she still looks terribly thin on the pictures... She eats and poops well but is a bit too thin but I think she is just different and would never be as "plump" as the average ferret.
We had Hope put to sleep this afternoon (Monday). I noticed Saturday that she had deteriorated a lot. She used to eat her daily treat but lately didn't want to. Only since last Wednesday or even Thursday so it hasn't been long. Saturday night I got her out and she was so limp and feeling weak. I figured out she hadn't been eating so went over to the neighbours' to get a tin of cat food. I know Hope eats it. She had a little bit. Sunday we went shopping and I got her more cat food and some tiny gourmet tins. But Hope wasn't interested, only licked so little of it. So I gave her cat milk a few times, she drank that but towards the end she looked like she didn't even have the energy to drink the milk. Saturday she couldn't walk much and her back legs went every few steps. She fell over when she wanted to scratch herself. She was coughing, too. She couldn't get to her potty, some times she just made it, other times she just crawled out of bed, went potty right next to it and crawled back into bed and looked so exhausted like it took all her strength... She also had a big mass in her abdomen, we thought it may be her spleen that was enlarged. Sunday night I knew that I had to take her to the vets and cried my eyes out, I had hoped she would just die on her own of old age, not get sick and force me to make the decision. I didn't want her to go. This morning I thought I look at her again and I took her out and phoned the vets because she wasn't well at all. Pete was very upset and cried and he didn't want me to take Hope but he knew that she was suffering, she didn't have quality of life anymore. We saw Louise who had done the spay on her. She gave Hope a strong sedative while I was giving her a dish with oil and I started crying when Hope's licking got more and more slow and stopped, I wanted to tell Louise to stop and let the sedative wear off and keep Hope but it wasn't fair to keep Hope going. Once she was sedated, Louise injected her with something into her kidneys. But Hope wouldn't die so Louise injected another lot... That was so horrible and then when Hope did die I felt so awful... I can't cope with the thought of death, can't get my head around it... I wonder how Rose, Jasmine and Barney will be, Jas was being very quiet yesterday like she knew... I'm just feeling real bad...
This is the last picture we took of Hope last Saturday when I gave her the tinned cat food: