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Breeding Control in Ferrets

In recent years, reproductive management advice for ferrets has changed. This information guide outlines some of the factors you may want to consider when deciding upon the best breeding management strategy for your ferrets.

Reasons for controlling breeding in ferrets
  1. Jill Ferrets

  2. Jill ferrets reach sexual maturity in the first spring after birth. Increased day length stimulates oestrus in the Jill between March – September. The Jill ferret will remain in oestrus until she is mated or until day length decreases.
    Remaining in oestrus for long periods of time can cause serious life-threatening illness in the Jill. The hormones which cause oestrus also suppress the production of blood cells. If this goes on for a long period of time, the Jill can become severely anaemic.
    The aim of breeding control in Jills is to prevent illness due to prolonged oestrus and to prevent unwanted litters.

  3. Hob Ferrets

  4. Hob ferrets reach sexual maturity at 9 months of age. During the breeding period, Hobs produce increased musk and skin secretions. This increases their smell and causes a sticky, greasy coat. Hobs are much more aggressive towards other ferrets during this period. They will fight with other males and bite females when attempting to breed.
    The aim of breeding control in Hobs is to prevent unwanted litters, reduce aggression and reduce smell/skin secretions to allow increased handling.

Options for Breeding Control

Jill Ferrets
  1. Neutering – Jill ferrets can be neutered or ‘spayed,’ by which procedure the ovaries and uterus are removed. Historically, neutering was the procedure of choice for the Jill. However, it has now been shown that neutering ferrets increases their risk of developing adrenal gland tumours. For this reason, we no longer advise neutering as the procedure of choice. Some owners still consider neutering the best option for breeding management. In these cases, Jills should be neutered in the first spring following birth. In these Jills, we advise placing a hormonal implant at the time of neutering to prevent the development of adrenal tumours (see below).
  2. Hormonal Implant – A hormonal implant can be placed under the skin of the Jill prior to the first oestrus (at 9 months of age). This implant will last 18-24 months and should be replaced when signs of oestrus recur. This implant is licensed in the Hob but is used off-license in the Jill. It has been used for many years in the Jill with no reported side-effects and is now the procedure of choice.
  3. The Jill Jab – An injection of Proligesterone can be used to suppress oestrus in the Jill. This is traditionally referred to as the ‘Jill jab.’ This injection is given when the Jill first comes into oestrus, usually in March. A single injection once yearly is sufficient for most Jills. However, some Jills will come back into oestrus 3-5 months later and will require a second injection in July. Jills must be closely monitored for signs of returning to oestrus.
  4. Teaser Males – A vasectomised Hob may be kept to mate with jills in oestrus and take them out of season. 75% OF Jills are taken out of oestrus after one mating. However, the Hob can be quite aggressive towards the Jill during mating, which can result in injuries to the Jill. Mating without fertilization causes pseudopregnancy in the Jill. Jills in pseudopregnancy can show increased aggression towards their owner and towards other ferrets. As the vasectomised Hob is entire, he will display the behaviour and smell of an entire male ferret.
Hob Ferrets
  1. Neutering – Hob ferrets can be ‘castrated,’ by which procedure their testes are removed. This will prevent all of the problems associated with keeping a male ferret as a pet. However, just as in Jills, neutering the Hob predisposes him to the development of adrenal tumours. For this reason, neutering is no longer considered the procedure of choice for Hobs. If the Hob is neutered, we would advise placing a hormonal implant at the time of surgery to prevent the development of adrenal tumours.
  2. Hormonal Implant – A hormonal implant can be placed under the skin of the Hob to produce a ‘chemical castration.’ Depending upon the size of the implant, this can last up to 4 years. The implant has all the benefits of castration and will also prevent the development of adrenal tumours. It is the procedure of choice in ferrets.

We hope you have found this information useful. Please contact us at MKVG if you would like to discuss breeding management in your ferret.
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Vaccine Amnesty – February 2018

Has your pet’s vaccination slipped your mind? Our vaccination amnesty makes it easy to update your pet’s vaccinations and provide them with protection against various diseases. Your pet will receive a full vaccination course for the price of a booster!

Our vaccine amnesty will run throughout February 2018.

During your pet’s consult for their vaccination, they will also receive a full health check and physical examination. To fully protect your pet and update their vaccinations, they will need two injections, (3 weeks apart for both dogs and cats).

Dog vaccinations protect your dog against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza viruses. Cat vaccinations protect your cat against Feline Infectious Enteritis, Cat Flu and Feline Leukaemia.

Why not consider joining our Pet HealthCare Plan for a monthly cost, which includes future vaccinations, flea, tick and worming treatment. For more information, click here.

Please call us on 01908 397777 to book an appointment

Terms of offer
  • Only valid for dogs and cats who have lapsed their vaccinations and not new puppy or kitten courses
  • Offer is for vaccination re-start for the price of a booster
  • Any additional consults will be charged at usual cost
  • Offer is valid from 1st – 28th February 2018
  • This offer is valid across all our branches – Walnut Tree, Stoke Road, Whaddon Way, Stony Stratford and Willen
  • If you have an outstanding balance with us, we will ask you to settle this before the appointment
  • Non-clients can use this offer if they register with us and agree to our terms and conditions
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New Year’s Resolution for your pet to lose a few pounds?

Over the festive period, we may have treated our pets to some extra turkey from our Christmas dinner. However with Easter around the corner, let’s start getting our pets back into shape sooner rather than later.

There are many risks associated with our pets being overweight including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and more.

Tips for Avoiding Pet Obesity
There are things you can do to ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight:

Change of food
Ideally change your pet’s diet to a low calorie diet over a period of five to seven days.Home-made diets are rarely successful as your pet may still be hungry or start begging or even dustbin raiding. Diets with high levels of fibre help your pet feel full with also getting the nutrients and vitamins they need.

Avoid snacking
Avoid giving your pet treats as much as possible. However if you want to still give your pet treats include them as part of their diet and reduce their meal portions.

Weigh your pet’s food
To ensure your pet gets the required amount of food per their weight, it is best to weigh out each meal to maintain or lose weight.

Exercise your pet
Exercise is important in terms of weight loss and therefore your pet should be encouraged to exercise. Taking dogs for those winter woodlands walks or providing your cat with extra playtime at home will help keep them healthier.

We offer free nutritional consults with our veterinary nurses, Charlotte Barker and Laura Sandall, who both have many years of experience. Our nutritional consults are available with Wednesday between 10am-6pm at Walnut Tree and between 3.30-4pm on Thursday and Friday at our Willen Branch. Appointments with Laura are available on Monday between 9am – 4.30pm at Walnut Tree and on Tuesdays between 3.30-4pm at our Willen branch. If you have any questions about the nutritional consults or would like to book your pet in to see us, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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A Big Thank You!

Before Christmas, we were collecting donations for the Coats for Christmas Appeal.

We would like to say a big thank you to all you generous people that donated to the appeal as always we appreciate all your help.

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