To find out about the main fundamentals when it comes to keeping ferrets as pets, your duty of care, and understanding their needs, we strongly recommend that you have a read through the RSPCA Ferret Information page which is full of key information, including:
We also have our own Ferret Rescue page on Facebook, where you can chat with ferret owners. And feel free to also contact us directly if you have any further questions!
Ferret vasectomy is a surgical procedure commonly used in male ferrets as a method of functional neutering. It produces a male ferret who can be used to mate female jills in order to interrupt their season without a resulting pregnancy.
The testicles remain intact so that the ferret still has the hormonal drive to mate with females in season. The procedure involves removing a small portion of the spermatic cord so that the sperm produced in the testicles is unable to travel out to fertlise an egg.
The procedure is best carried out during breeding season when the tiny sperm ducts are bigger and thus easier to identify during the surgery. It is a simple outpatient procedure meaning your hob will usually be back with you the same day.
It is recommended that vasectomised hobs are not used for sterile matings for at least seven weeks after the surgery, as live sperm can remain in the duct for this period of time.
Confirmation of a successful vasectomy can be obtained in a number of ways. Simple microscopy of the removed section of the duct is effective confirmation in most cases. Some people may opt to send the removed section to a laboratory for histological confirmation.
Vasectomised hobs are also known as hoblets, and because the procedure doesn’t affect their hormones, it doesn’t affect their behaviour and nor does it make any difference to their characteristic musky odour.
If you are looking to rehome a vasectomised hob please check our 'Ferrets Looking for Homes' page!
Ferret Neutering Information Sheet Your ferret has been neutered for a number of reasons: .
Jills: To prevent her coming into season and attracting unwanted male attention, becoming pregnant or having false pregnancies .
Hobs: To prevent the expression of sexual characteristics and behaviour during the breeding season which can include aggression and restlessness, and in particular their smell There are huge numbers of unwanted ferrets born every year as a result of accidental pregnancy, and the RSPCA and South Cheshire Ferret Rescue will only rehome neutered jills and hobs, and vasectomised hobs, that are not capable of producing kits.
Ferret Reproduction Basics Ferrets become sexually mature in their first spring – this is usually between 6-12 months of age, depending on how early or late in the season they were born. They are seasonal breeders, coming in to season with increasing hours of daylight in spring. Jills (females) are induced ovulators; this means that they will remain in season until they are mated to bring them out of season. If they are not mated, or brought out of season by other means (eg. Jill jab, vasectomised hob, Deslorelin implant), then they develop a potentially fatal bone marrow suppression caused by this prolonged oestrus (season). There are a number of ways to prevent this condition in jills. One way is to get them neutered, or spayed. This will prevent her from coming into season in the first place.
Neutering & Adrenal Disease However, it has been proven that neutering ferrets increases the chance of them developing adrenal disease. This is a result of a lack of hormonal feedback after neutering, which causes the adrenal glands to overproduce other hormones. Ferrets kept outside (and so are exposed to natural day length) are less likely to suffer from adrenal disease. Signs of adrenal disease to look out for in neutered ferrets include: . symmetrical fur loss, usually starting from the tail and progressing towards the head . vulval swelling in neutered jills . return to sexual behaviour despite being neutered . difficulty urinating (hobs) . Sometimes itchy skin Whilst not all neutered ferrets will develop adrenal disease, and these signs can be caused by other diseases, between 50-75% neutered ferrets will develop adrenal disease at some point in their lives.
Recommendations The RSPCA and South Cheshire Ferret Rescue recommend that ferrets of both sexes that have been neutered, should receive a Deslorelin (Suprelorin®) implant to remove the trigger for hormone production by the adrenal glands, and to reduce the chance of developing adrenal disease. This involves the injection of a small implant under the skin of your ferrets scruff – very similar to microchipping. The procedure can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon, but is extremely quick and doesn’t usually require any anaesthetic. The implant lasts for a variable length of time – usually for about 1.5 – 3 years. Whilst this is a common method of contraception and disease prevention in ferrets, it is not licensed for use in neutered ferrets. Please speak to your own vet about whether this is a suitable option for your ferret.
**Attention all new ferret owners ** It is the time of year when you will notice, if not already, that your fat ferrets will soon become skinny minnys! They will be losing their winter weight and their winter coats. You will notice their coat changes condition and becomes a lot smoother and sleeker and they lose a lot of weight - it can seem like they lose their weight overnight! Your new additions will probably be eating less and becoming a lot more active! Some of you may have ferrets that moult and get what is known as "Rat Tail" where they can lose ALL of their fur on their tails. again don't worry about this it is fairly common. You only need to be concerned if the hair loss continues past their tail and up onto their body. If you're ferrets are acting normal, eating normal and toileting as normal then the weight loss is nothing to worry about - Welcome to the world of "Summer Ferrets"