Missy, Tammy and Finn
I took in *three* rescues on the 7th of July 2013... I failed to let a new ferret friend know not to involve me when there are ferrets in need. I have this quirk, if there are ferrets in need and I am in any way involved (just told about it) then I feel I have to do something. If I didn't and they ended up having a bad life then it would be my fault for not taking them as I could have changed their fate. So said new ferret friend, knowing I don't want any more ferrets, told me that there were 4 abandoned ferrets. She took one, and do I know of anybody who can help. She said they had been abandoned in a house when the owner moved out, they were thin and timid, she felt bad for them and also for how they were kept in their temporary home. So a few hours later we went to see the ferrets. Apparently there had been 5 abandoned ferrets but one died. So I took the three remaining ferrets. There is a sandy hob I have named Finn, an albino jill I named Missy, and a polecat jill Tammy. I tried all three together but Tammy viciously attacked Missy. So they have to be kept in 2 groups.
Finn and Tammy were neutered Tuesday 9th of July, Missy was more frail so I booked her in for the following Tuesday. By then she had come into season so had to be taken out of it but she was finally spayed on the 30th of July. Finn and Missy are all sweet and cuddly, Tammy bites occasionally, she has got *a lot* better over the past 3 months. She barely bites now (as of November 2013).
So I am happy for the ferrets but part of me is distraught that I have gone from one to three groups in the blink of an eye, more work, more stress, instead of things getting easier they are now more complicated. Of course I was hoping to somehow mix ferrets. I tried Finn and Missy with mine, I tried Missy alone with mine, I tried Missy with Tammy and Finn, nothing works. My 6 are so sweet and would accept any new ferret but Finn bullied at least Franklin and Missy spent a week with mine and was scared of them even though they did nothing to her, in the middle of the night she would start screaming at them and throw them out of bed and of course being woken up constantly brought me to the brink of insanity so back to square one. I keep thinking I had 3 groups just over a year ago but I didn't have Logan then. Logan needs 2 walks a day and I am in a state of constant exhaustion. The thought of having 3 groups of ferrets for the next 6 years is unbearable for me. I am struggling immensely.
For a while I thought I would be trying to rehome them. I so wanted to have the life back that I had before I took them in - when I had just one group of ferrets and would be done with my morning chores by 10.00 at the latest (ferrets and skunks exercised and everybody fed and cleaned) and would then have the energy for stuff like ... cleaning windows etc. I haven't rehomed ferrets in many years. I made a few bad choices in the past so I limited the number of rescues I took in so I could keep them. I would only have rehomed the rescues to a *good* home, to people who have the same or a similar attitude towards animals as I have. I treat my pets the way I would want to be treated if I was them. Obviously with a multi-animal/ species household, there are a few limitations. But I let all ferrets out for a minimum of 1 hour morning and night, ideally as long as they want to stay out for (until they go to bed somewhere). If they get sick, they are taken to the vets. If they are ill and stop eating, I hand feed them. In the past I have hand fed sick ferrets for 3 years and more. My vet has said more than once that if I didn't care this well for my ferrets, they would never live as long as they do, especially having the quality of life that they have. Right now I am hand feeding Honey and Peanut a little, they had both lost weight and condition. Just by getting a small portion of meat morning and night, they have picked up a lot, especially Honey. She was still eating but looked like she was wasting away. No more, she looks a picture of health. I would bend over backwards for the animals, do anything that is good for them, do what they need me to do. There was a time when I had about 6 sick, elderly ferrets and hand feeding and medicating would take 1 hour morning and night. Right now preparing food for everybody takes at least 1 hour a day. Cutting up chicken carcasses, preparing veg for the skunks...
But obviously there aren't many people out there (like in my area) who would take in the ferrets and provide them with a *good* home and I really don't know if I could go through with it. Missy, Tammy and Finn are sooo happy and I feel why take that away from them just so that I have it easier... They have been through a really bad experience and deserve a peaceful, happy life now. Tammy is still stashing food absolutely everywhere, still scared the food supply may run dry suddenly. :( And Finn is obese, probably also still scared that things could change as far as food is concerned.
The pictures so far are from when I first had them. Tammy was stupid thin. I will make an effort to take newer pictures soon. Missy had put weight on but slimmed down again, both Missy and Tammy have a really good weight and Tammy's coat is super soft. I hope Finn will slim down in spring, I have had many rescues/ strays that went through hunger and possibly starvation and became obese but would slim down after about a year of being here.
More ("old") pictures of Missy, Tammy and Finn HERE.
This video shows how crazy Tammy and Finn play, of course it is wonderful to see them so happy. :)
Update October 2016
I feel bad for never updating ferret pages. For just over a year, Missy and Tammy would "share" Finn. Missy would spend 3 1/2 days in a cage with him, and then Tammy had 3 1/2 days with him. Finn also had time out with both girls morning and night, luckily he was playful and energetic. Then at the end of 2014, I took Sweetie in. I was hoping she would get on with Missy. Missy initially bullied Sweetie a little, and then Sweetie had a go at Missy in return, but after a few months they were really fine together. So Tammy and Finn were together then.
Sweetie & Missy
Missy & Sweetie
July 2016, I put Poley in with Missy and Sweetie, after Skippy died. (When I took in Syd, he, too, went in with Missy, Sweetie and Poley December 2016.) And Tammy and Finn went in with Tigger. Many changes since I first wrote about the three.
Poley, Missy & Sweetie
Finn was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy beginning of October. He suddenly started having a loud hacking cough middle to end of September but still ate and played. But the cough was awful, similar to dogs' kennel cough. I didn't get to see Michaela because the vets have opened another practice and she goes there 2 days a week now. So I went to see my second favourite vet, Fiona. She couldn't hear anything listening to his chest but I had recorded the coughing so she saw it on a video and prescribed antibiotics. We saw her a week later and she added Metacam to the antibiotics in case there was an inflammatory process going on. But he got worse still so he was booked in for x-rays and scan a few days later. Michaela immediately noticed that his heart was sounding bad and x-rays showed a very enlarged heart that was pushing his trachea up and irritating it (I think) and thus causing the hacking cough. So Finn was put on heart medications and has barely been coughing since! I now wonder whether he's had an enlarged heart for a few (2) years because in the past he would cough when I picked him up and held him around his ribs so I would always support his whole body when holding him. Skippy ferret had also had the same hacking cough occasionally for the past 2 years, just like Finn. Now I wonder whether Skippy had an enlarged heart for all this time, too, and when he was put on a high dose of pred for his lymphoma, whether the pred weakened the heart muscle just like it caused overall muscle wasting and so caused sudden severe congestive heart failure. I just wonder how they can have an enlarged heart for so long without going into heart failure. I'm not sure Finn is in heart failure as the coughing was from irritation to the trachea and not from fluid in the lungs. Anyway, I hope he'll continue to do well for some time! He's eating and playing but has slowed down a little but that may be the benazepril. I don't know. My vet said they sometimes get dogs in with a loud hacking cough and then they die of heart failure while being treated for kennel cough. I had not known about the heart enlargement causing a hacking cough until now...
Update January 2017
I had Finn put to sleep Monday 16th of January 2017. Since Friday the 13th (that figures...) he'd been going downhill rapidly, lost body condition/ muscle, breathing got worse, he wasn't able to go up the stairs through weakness and/ or breathing problems. Then Sunday he was bad despite upping his Furosemide and giving it 3 times instead of twice a day. At night he was out 5 minutes and then kind of collapsed in the hall through exhaustion. I worried and hated seeing him breathe so fast and heavy so Monday Michaela saw me before she was due to start operating and I decided to have him put to sleep. One minute he looked like nothing was wrong, the next he went quiet and half closed his eyes. I just didn't know what to do. In hindsight I wish I had given him another day to see how things go. To see if he improves. Because Monday morning he actually made it up the stairs... But now I can't go back and do it differently. At the time I didn't want to see him suffer. I really beat myself up and wished I hadn't acted so quickly. Then again Michaela had commented numerous times before how fast his heart rate was like he was end stage heart disease and yet he never had many symptoms, only the hacking cough from the heart irritating his windpipe. I have a feeling he had an enlarged heart for a long time and just didn't show symptoms and coped okay. And I hope he really was end stage and just went downhill rapidly and wouldn't have been better on higher doses Furosemide. I think he's the first ferret I didn't do a post mortem on. I wished I had, just to see. Maybe I'll defrost him and do it before I bury him. Like I did with dog Poppy. Things are just really difficult at the moment, not so much animals but life. So I didn't even think about a post mortem. I also think the guilty feeling prevented me from doing it. And the zero support I have.
So now Tammy is with Tigger alone. Tigger doesn't like Tammy and has a go at her, yet Tammy often dances around him to entice him to play. I hope in time Tigger will realise it's better to be friends with her than not have any ferret buddy. He adored Finn...
Finn & Tigger
Update August 2017
Tigger developed cerebellar ataxia from the middle of July onward, and as he was getting more and more unstable on his legs, Tammy started having a go at him. I obviously couldn't let anybody even remotely hurt Tigger so I split them up beginning of August. Neither minded as they never bonded, they only tolerated one another. And were happy on their own. Tammy has actually bonded more with me now and even plays with me. She has always been very timid but I have been hand feeding her for just over a year after she had something that looked like an insulinoma episode but never recurred, so she has become more tame. And now she actually likes to play with me. She will even come running to me in the garden because she likes it when I touch and tickle her and she will then "attack" my hand and dance around. :)
I took Missy (along with Sweetie and Poley) to the vets on the 13th of June. Sweetie was spayed, Poley got a Suprelorin implant, and Missy had a blood glucose test. I had suspected that she had insulinoma since late 2016. At first I managed it with diet ad kept her BG stable. Then around March/ April, I started giving her 0.5 mg prednisolone. I know, slap wrist. But I know ferrets and insulinoma, plus Missy was 100% better once she was put on pred. But I wanted my vet to diagnose it properly so Missy could get more tablets. And she did indeed have a low BG. But she was completely fine with pred, playful and up and running around with her group.
Until we suddenly and unexpectedly lost Missy on Friday 11th of August 2017. I hand fed her as usual Friday morning, let her out with her group, and when I wanted to put them back in she had vanished. I just couldn't believe she could have escaped and was worried a bird of prey took her even though this hasn't happened in over 10 years. A friend did call round and I took her out when Missy and her group was out so even though the chance was slim to non-existent, I was also worried she might have slipped out when Lila came or when we left. There was also a slim chance she could have slipped into my bedroom when I got changed. So I was worried all day, walked through the village, posted "missing ferret" notes in houses, tidied my bedroom and got all boxes and things out of corners in case she got behind everything. Then at night I let Tammy ferret out and she dragged Missy's dead body out of a play pipe, I found out when I heard Tammy attacking and thrashing "something" around and thought "Missy" yet there was no screaming because Missy was dead. But seeing her like this just made my heart stop, I was so in shock, trembling, that was something I did not expect at all. It's the first time that a ferret has just died this way. I've had over 50 ferrets for over 20 years, one died under anaesthetic, one went into acute heart failure and died the night before I had scheduled to have him put to sleep, all the others needed to be put to sleep. So the first time an apparently healthy ferret just died. Quite a shock but nice that she didn't suffer. Maybe for the last hour a bit but not like some of them had... Just sad that Sweetie has lost her BFF, and Missy was in love with Syd, I think he reminded her of Finn. And now she's just gone. I did open her up and she was so healthy looking inside, such a healthy heart, lungs fine, she had the smallest spleen I've ever seen, liver and kidneys healthy looking. Of course one explanation is that her insulinoma released a huge amount of insulin and she went into a coma and died. But she had a huge "bruise" or something on her back. I repeatedly asked Pete if he'd accidentally trodden on her but he denied it. He always fesses up when asked. There was also no trauma inside of her, no bleeding or damaged organs. Then I realised that the skin looked like it had started to go necrotic or something. And I remembered we have false widow spiders that can cause a lot of harm, some people react so badly they need surgery to remove infected tissue. I'm just wondering if she could have been bitten or stung by something and killed... I put photos of her back on her post mortem page for anybody who is interested and may have an idea what might have happened...
Last photos of Missy and Sweetie, taken 31.05.17
Sweetie & Missy
Missy & Sweetie
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