Parasites

FLEAS

If you find fleas, you must act very, very fast.  You must be very thorough though.  Everything must be done the same day and every pet with fur must be treated.

You can get the drops that go on the back of the neck to kill the fleas.  When a pet has been treated with this product, any flea that bites him dies.  The inexpensive products do not work that well and will not kill all the fleas.  The better products kill fleas quickly.  (Read the directions, do not shampoo within 24 hours of using the drops.)  Products safe for ferrets are Revolution for cats only, Frontline II, Advantage Multi and Advantage II (NOT Advantix).  Use one drop per pound of body weight, so usually two to three drops.  For Frontline and Advantage, you can use the product for dogs or cats.  It’s virtually the same thing to the ferret and it’s cheaper to buy the one for large dogs.  If buying the dog product, be sure you’re buying the one that does NOT kill ticks. That has a different chemical make-up and can hurt the ferret.

Use a good quality home pest spray. Spray the flooring of the entire house. Move clothing, furniture and anything that is easily moved and spray under it and be sure to spray inside the closets, under the beds, etc.

If possible, the pets should be removed from the house when you spray.  If you can’t, put them in a room that you will spray later, close the vent and put a heavy towel at the base of the door.  A few hours after spraying and when the flea spray has completely dried in the rest of the house, you can let the pets out of that room and then spray it.  Be sure to put a towel at the base of the door and don’t let the pets back in there for a few hours.

If the fleas are really bad, you might consider using foggers in the house.  If you use them, be sure to use enough.  Every nook and cranny, including inside closets and under beds has to be able to be reached to be effective.  If you put one fogger in the hall between two rooms, you can’t expect it to reach everywhere.  Then the fleas have places to get away. If you fog, you must remove the pets from the house.  It is too risky to leave them in the house.

Before you fog or spray, vacuum the house very well.  Then empty the canister or bag into the trash, using flea spray on the contents to kill any fleas you may have vacuumed up.  Tie the bag shut tightly and put it in the outside trash container.
You need to wash any bedding or anything the pets have come in contact with (bed sheets, pillow cases, etc.) in hot water and with bleach to kill any fleas that may have imbedded themselves and any larvae or eggs.  (If the bedding isn’t white, you can still use bleach, just use 1/8 cup. At that strength, it is still a disinfectant, just not a whitener.  I use it that way all the time.)

Spray some liquid soap in a small bowl.  Search for any fleas on the pet, even if they look dead. Remove every flea and put it in the bowl of liquid soap to kill it.  It’s easiest to use a flea comb to do this.

A few hours after spraying or fogging, you should run the vacuum again. This will pick up most dead fleas and any that have not been completely killed, as well as more larvae and eggs.

You have to treat for fleas outside as well.  There are products to spray or put outside that will not harm wildlife, so check into that.  Diatomaceuous powder is safe for birds but kills insects, including fleas and roaches and other good insects 🙁 .
If you have squirrels that come in your yard, do what you can to discourage them, but be aware you will always have flea problems when there are squirrels around.  If they don’t come in your yard but go in your neighbor’s, it’s the same difference; the fleas will travel.  Fleas jump on your clothing and come in the house with you.

The biggest mistake people make when treating for fleas is to not treat often enough.  Flea eggs are not affected much by any product.  Once the eggs hatch out in ten days, the entire cycle starts all over again.

Ten days after the first spraying, you must spray the house and treat the yard for fleas again. This will catch the larvae as they are hatching from the eggs. It will also catch the larvae turning into adults before they begin laying eggs of their own. This is the most important time. Be diligent again about spraying everywhere. You don’t have to be as diligent about vacuuming before and after or washing all the bedding, though it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and wash the main bedding in hot water and bleach again.

To be on the safe side, treat again ten days after that (20 days after the 1st time). After that, until we get into completely cold weather, you should be safe treating every 30 days. Once warm weather comes around, get a head start on it by treating the pets with flea medication right off the bat and treating regularly every 30 days.
If you find a flea on your pet, it’s important to do something about it very fast. Fleas lay eggs nearly every day. So, it becomes a real problem very quickly. Fleas can result in anemia and death. It is no joking matter.

It’s best to get some flea drops that go on the back of the neck. 18 hours after this is put on the pet, any flea that feeds on the pet will die.

For a ferret, use only Frontline for dogs or cats, Advantage for dogs or cats, Advantage Multi for cats or Revolution for cats. These are the only ones that are safe for a ferret. Revolution also kills heartworms, mites and intestinal parasites.

Use about one drop per pound of body weight. You can use Advantage or Frontline for large dogs. It’s virtually the same product as for cats, just different packaging so people don’t overdose. Revolution and Advantage Multi for cats only should be used. The dog product is NOT safe for ferrets. Dosages are below.
Ferrets .25 ml
Cats .5 ml
Dogs under 22 lbs. .67 ml
Dogs 23-44 lbs. 1.34 ml
Dogs 45-88 lbs. 2.68 ml
Dogs 89 – 132 lbs. 4 ml

It’s also important to spray the house for fleas. Use a home pest spray and spray everywhere, including under furniture and in closets. Spray in rooms where the pets don’t go, as the fleas can still get in there. The pets should be removed from the house when you spray. If you can’t, put them in a room that is not going to be sprayed until the sprayed areas have dried. Once you let them out of the room, spray that room and don’t let them back in until the spray has dried.

Ten days later, it’s important to spray again, as that’s when the eggs start hatching out. Even if the spray says it kills eggs, spray ten days later. It’s impossible for a spray to kill all the eggs and you don’t want the problem to start again.

EAR MITES

Ferrets get ear mites a lot more than people think. You can bring ear mites in on your clothing from outside and other pets can bring them in as well. If you use Revolution cat flea treatment, it will kill ear mites as well as fleas, heartworms and most  intestinal parasites.

If a ferret (or any pet) has ear mites that are left untreated, it can result in an ear infection, potential loss of hearing and possibly even death, if the infection gets past the ear drum into the brain.

WORMS

While ferrets can get worms, they don’t get them as easily as dogs and cats. If they come into contact with fecal matter that has worm eggs in it, then there is a real possibility.

If there is a chance the ferret has worms, it should be seen by a vet. Do NOT use over-the-counter worming medication. This is not safe for a ferret and can easily kill them. The medication needs to be for the specific type of worms and the dosage precise to the weight of the ferret.

Revolution for cats is a treatment of drops that go on the back of the neck. This kills most types of intestinal parasites (but not all), as well as fleas, ear mites and heartworms. Use one drop per pound of body weight for a ferret. That’s usually two drops for a female and three for a male. It’s cheapest to buy the Revolution for large cats.

Most vet offices have Revolution for sale. You can also ask your vet to write a prescription for it, so you can order it off-line. It’s frequently a lot less expensive that way. Some vet offices will match on-line prices for some products.