Blockage

There is a lot of information out there about ‘blockage protocol.’   Many people believe, incorrectly, that if a ferret has what appears to be a blockage, they should give something to the ferret to move the blockage through.  While this may work some of the time, other times it can actually kill the ferret.  A ferret that came through my hands had a blockage and was given a blockage protocol by the owner.  When the owner first contacted me the ferret was walking with signs of discomfort.  After giving blockage protocol, the ferret collapsed, was unresponsive and moaning in pain. Their blockage protocol made the blockage, which was a piece of cloth, move through the intestinal tract and apparently cause a torsion (twisting).  The ferret died.  Trying to force a blockage through can also cause lacerations or tearing of the intestinal tract, which can be deadly too.  It is equally important not to feed the ferret if a blockage is possible, as food can make the blockage move.

Signs of a blockage (many of these are also signs of other serious medical conditions, including insulinoma/low blood glucose):
Thin, stringy stool
Coughing / hacking
Loss of appetite and weight
Vomiting or dry heaves
Lethargy
Pawing at mouth
Drooling Rubbing face on the carpet (not like cleaning the face after eating)
Dehydration (can pick up skin on back of neck and it goes down slowly)
Swollen belly that is painful to the touch

If your ferret shows these symptoms, take him to a vet right away. Even if the symptoms come and go, the ferret should be seen by a vet.  There could be a partial blockage or a floating blockage that, if not taken care of right away, could kill the ferret.Sometimes a ferret will have a hairball because they can’t hack up fur like a cat does.  The difficulty is, you don’t know if it’s a hairball or blockage the ferret is dealing with and, if the hairball is too large, it can be creating a serious blockage too.