A huge thank you to Dan and Melissa for allowing me to share their heartbreak loss of Sara.
Sara passed away at home from what we feel was an undiagnosed blockage. You see sometimes when a ferret eats something they shouldn’t it causes a partial blockage. The ferret is still eating “sort of” and pooping but not a normal poop, kind of stringy. When they have the start and stop eating and pooping you can be thrown off thinking it is a flu or tummy upset and not a blockage.
Could we have saved Sara? She was seven years old and getting frail. Would she have survived surgery? This blog is not about the blockage. It is about checking your ferret’s toys on a WEEKLY basis.
The chewed tennis ball was found the night Sara passed. Now this tennis ball had been part of her toys for the last six years and she had never chewed on it. What made her decide to chew on it this time? We will never know. It wasn’t chewed like the picture below, but enough of the fuzz was pulled away from the tennis ball that Dan & Melissa realized that she had been chewing on it.
I know I am on my soap box but if my nagging can help just one family put this safety protocol in place, then Sara has not died in vain.
You see, I have seen this in the shelter over and over. A stuffy that everyone loves and is carried around but never chewed until it is. A blankie that is dragged into the nest box behind the TV suddenly has chew holes in it!
I have had the stomach churning panic of discovering a chewed stuffie, blanket, even a broken jingle ball without the ball!!! Years ago after having to hairball 20 ferrets because I did not know which ferret had chewed the stuffie. All the toys were checked and any toy that might cause a blockage was thrown out. Out went all the tennis balls. Out went all the stuffies with foam inside. My ferrets were not happy but I had peace of mind.
I have a dedicated play room now for the fuzzies and after each play time I check the toys and floor for any bits of material. I admit to being paranoid about blockages and yet I still get the occasional scare when I find that blanket with a chew hole in it! grrrrrr
Every Saturday, I throw all the washable toys in the washing machine. I check each item closely and if I see any signs of seams wearing or signs of chewing; the toy is discarded. The toys are washed with soap and vinegar so that they are clean and sterilized! The same goes for all those blankies in all those extra nest boxes all over the house.
The message here is don’t assume that the safe toys will always be safe. Check them weekly for any signs of chewing and of course the toys have to be washed at least every month or every second week.