Lulu and her new Hanging Sleep Sack

Lulu is a tiny sable female that was surrendered to the main shelter in 2016.  I think her young owner did not understand how important it is to handle baby ferrets and to teach them not to bite. So at eighteen months when Lulu arrived; she bit hard enough to still draw blood and she was afraid of hands.

After a few months Lulu had learnt not to bite Mommy. Unfortunately, she bonded to Mommy and did not trust other hands.  We are still working on this issue by having a couple of volunteers coming in and handling the ferrets including Lulu to get them used to/trust all hands.

Lulu was moved into the the youngsters cage. This cage has Corky, Pepsi, Cola, and Mouse. Corky, Cola and Mouse have no issue with Lulu and play or snuggle with her.  Miss Pepsi is another matter. She intermittently takes a round out of poor Lulu! There is much screaming and such when this happens.  I don’t want to put her by herself because she has fun with the other three.  I correct Pepsi every time I hear her picking on Lulu. However, there are enough times (I am out of the house or asleep) that Pepsi gets away with it, and so she continues. Pepsi and Cola came in together and I will not take her away from her sister. Corky and Mouse love them all.  What a dilemma.

I found a small hanging sleep sack (surrendered with another ferret years ago) and decided to put it in their cage for Lulu.  If she climbed inside maybe she would feel safer from Pepsi and could defend her “space”. Eureka! Lulu made a beeline for this sleep sack and claimed it.  I only hear some squawking now when Pepsi tries to climb into Lulu’s sack.

I only had this one hanging sleep sack and this made things difficult for Lulu when it was in the wash.  Adrienne, the shelter’s ferret Oma got busy and made Lulu several hanging sleep sacks just for her.  Now I can have two hanging on the bars of the cage and two in the wash.hanging-sleep-sack-for-lulu

It was cage cleaning today, so I got busy and hung up the new sleep sack.  Lulu and crew were running around but somehow Lulu seemed to know what I was up to.  Or maybe seeing the dirty one on the floor she was worrying about what she would sleep in? All I know is that she climbed into the cage over my shoulder to check things out.  I had my cell phone in my pocket (not a normal thing for me which is why I miss so many good shots).  I took a few quick pictures; no time for posing!

Lulu climbed into the new hanging sleep sack. Sniffed around I assume and then peeked out at me.  I think she was tickled pink to have this slightly larger, softer hanging sleep sack.  I took Lulu out so that she could finish her play time.  When they all went back to bed Lulu jumped into her sleep sack and no one went near her sack. She must have had a few words with her sisters about who “owned” the new sleep sack Mommy hung in the cage.  All is peaceful FOR NOW.  Pepsi can be stubborn and she is an alpha girl………………….. so I hung two so they both could “claim” a hanging sleep sack.

lulu-looking-out-of-her-new-hanging-sleep-sack

lulu-trying-out-her-new-hanging-sleep-sack

New Hiding Spot

I had my three old ladies out playing on Sunday morning.  I was changing some litter boxes in the shelter room and these scrawny ferts can fill a litter box quicker than any other cage so I was doing their cage!  Mariko, Finni and Rosie will tootle about for about 45 minutes before finding a nest box to crash in. It had been an hour and I knew it was time for them to go back to bed.

Rosie - you can't see me!

Rosie – you can’t see me!

Finni- I smell something!

Finni- I smell something!

Mariko-This is my best smile!

Mariko-This is my best smile!

My  nine year old grandson, Holden arrived early for his bi-weekly Sunday visit with me. I normally have all the ferrets back to bed before he arrives. This is not a safety issue from me but from the “powers that be”.  Of all the ferrets in the house, these three, if given the chance might “gum” you to death! I follow the rules and the ferrets are locked up.

I needed to put the girls to bed because it was time for their duck soup and because my grandson is not used to watching where he walks (has not learnt the ferret shuffle). Of course also for the above stated reason.

Rosie and Mariko were curled up in the nest box behind the TV and I put them back in their cage. I couldn’t find Finni!  I knew that she hadn’t gotten out when Holden came in the front door, but, where the heck had she gotten to? Holden was told to play in his bedroom with the door closed while I looked.  I checked all the usual sleepy spots without any luck.  Then, I went by the front door to check the bed in the closet.  Holden’s boots lay where he had taken them off – in the way – right in front of the front door!  I bent down to move the boots to the boot rack and I little face peeked out. I ran for the camera but by the time I came back, she was almost out of the boot.

I called Holden to come see.  We both laughed and I grabbed the opportunity as a “teaching moment” . Now Holden understands even more why the furries have to be back in their cages because they can choose the silliest places to sleep and might get hurt!

Finni in Holden's boot

Finni in Holden’s boot

Finni woken up from sleeping in Holden's boot

Finni woken up from sleeping in Holden’s boot

STILL HOPE FOR SCRAPPY, CAGE MODIFICATION

It has been an emotional roller coaster with Scrappy! At the beginning of the week I was sure that I would have to let her go. Which ever position I put her in her hospital cage is where she stayed. She didn’t even move away from her bowel movement. She wouldn’t lift her head to look at me. I made the vet appointment for Thursday.

Until then, I continued with water therapy, stretching exercises and lots of cuddles. Her right shoulder remains dislocated. On Thursday morning, Scrappy would lift her head and her eyes would follow me.  She could support her head while eating her duck soup. During the stretching exercises it became very evident that the whole right side of the body was compromised. The dislocated shoulder and the nerve compression all the way down to her right back leg. She cannot  weight bear, but if you stroke the back of the leg she will move it forward.

Scrappy, 3 weeks after the accident

Scrappy, 3 weeks after the accident

My vet took the x-rays on Thursday. She didn’t have a broken back. Nerve compression does not show on an x-ray,however her toe curling indicated nerve damage. Dr. Singh is not one to give up and so we went to plan C.  We would do 6 deep tissue laser treatments. The MFA just couldn’t afford this but he kindly offered the treatments at 50% off.  This is still a $150.00 touch which is a big bite out of our limited finances. Dr. Singh also suggested that we try giving her 4 drops a day of the children’s B complex formula. The B complex is a nerve tonic and will help with the necessary healing of the nerves.  The gentleman at Sangsters didn’t bat an eye when I told him the B complex was for a ferret. Apparently years ago, his son owned a ferret! What a small world!

B complex to help with the nerve damage

B complex to help with the nerve damage

So 2 laser treatments a week, daily B complex drops, water therapy, stretching exercises, prayers galore and just maybe this sweetie will pull through.

Meanwhile, I have 4 or 5 Ferret Nation cages with the second version shelving just like what Scrappy hurt herself on. It’s not like I have empty cages to move the ferrets into until the new plastic pans for the Ferret Nation cages arrive.  I have been fretting like crazy. These cages were in use for several years before the injury and yet I am holding my breath praying no one else gets hurt before the shelves get here.

Now anyone who knows me well, knows that I can fix just about anything with 2 items. I am never without these items. Don’t laugh  once you find out because by god they have saved many a day! If DUCT TAPE won’t hold it together, then bring on the drill and ZIP TIES. I have zip ties in black, green and white!

I have zip tied a castor back onto the base of a cage turning a useless donated cage into one that I am still using. I have zip tied J food hoppers to the cage so that ferrets don’t knock them over. I have zip tied shelving to the cage bars to keep them in place. I even zip tied the catch trays for all the litter boxes.

So, duct tape won’t work on the shelf edges as too many of the ferrets will chew on the tape and give themselves a blockage. So…… on to zip ties. How can I make the shelf safer for now. Well I could see the gap where the plastic insert the the metal cross piece left enough room for a paw to get trapped under. Drill a few holes for the zip ties and voila, no more gap! At least any ferret wanting to jump off the shelf into a hammock won’t catch their paws. There is still a small gap from the edge of the plastic to the frame but I can’t close that gap and not sure a paw would fit in the space.

plastic insert zip tied to the metal cross piece and closing the gap

plastic insert zip tied to the metal cross piece and closing the gap

 

 

another view of the plastic insert zip tied to the metal cross piece to close the gaps

I am hoping the new shelving arrives at Pembina, North Dakota in the next 7 to 10 days. Then I just have to pray the weather cooperates so I can drive down and pick them up!

I hope by next Friday, the 16th, I will have even better news!

Update on Ferret Nation Shelving and Scrappy

First off I should mention that Scrappy is still eating and drinking but will not move around at all. The shoulder is still useless. Our vet told us it could take up to a month for the nerves to heal so I have my fingers crossed.  We may have to consider amputation if things don’t change. I am just so grateful this little girl hasn’t given up.

This is Scrappy before her injury

This is Scrappy before her injury

Now, about the shelf.  I want to say that the company has been very helpful.  From the information I gleaned on line, I assumed that the shelf and plastic insert was the shelf that I was reading about.  My shelf as posted is the company’s 2nd design in response to the injuries. They were very surprised and upset to hear that my ferret had injured herself with the 2nd designed shelf. So, all those injuries and deaths were NOT related to the shelf/plastic insert I posted. They immediately offered shelf covers at no cost. I know the covers are not expensive and I could have tried to make my own, but I have ferrets to care for and that is where my time and focus needs to be. The shelf covers will help and come in handy until we can purchase the more efficient(in my personal opinion) third design shelf pan.

Ferret Nation shelf with plastic insert- 2nd design

Ferret Nation shelf with plastic insert- 2nd design

Now, they have a 3rd design which is the plastic pan with a lip. This design came about because of concerns for food and litter spilling off the shelf.  Now I personally really like the idea of a plastic pan with a lip that fits over the shelf. Much easier to clean for someone with 5 Ferret Nation cages in the house. The soft shelf covers is a nice touch, but I have lots of bedding to wash every week as is and having to strip, wash and put the covers back on immediately is too labor intensive for a shelter long term. We were able to get a good price for the plastic pan with the lip, so we have ordered them.  Ferret.com has them on sale right now.

3rd shelf design with a lip to catch crumbs and litter

3rd shelf design with a lip to catch crumbs and litter

So, I apologize for not having the full picture when I posted. I was so upset about my little girl and worrying about having to maybe put her down that I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 5! So in summary, if you have the pan with the plastic insert and it fits snugly to the edge of the frame, it is the second design not the original design.

3rd shelf design with a lip to catch crumbs and litter

3rd shelf design with a lip to catch crumbs and litter

So, I hope I have made things a little more clear. The second design should not have caused any issues and I hope Scrappy’s injury was a fluke.  Please keep her in your prayers. There are 2 short videos on U-Tube of ferrets with a shoulder amputation; running around playing so that keeps me hopeful!

FERRET NATION CAGE-DANGEROUS SHELVING

I can’t tell you yet if this story will have a happy ending but I am very optimistic because my vet has told me that Scrappy did not need to be put down. I am hoping the degree of her handicap will be minimal. Scrappy caught her left front paw in the shelf of her Ferret Nation cage.

I was not home when this happened so I do not know how long she struggled but the end result was that she freed herself. However in order to free herself, she literally pulled her shoulder out of its socket and even stretched the tendon. The left front shoulder and paw are now completely useless and fold in on her body.  We have her on Pred. to help reduce the swelling. She is confined to a small cage to keep her from moving around. My first thought is yeah right, keep a healthy 4 year old girl” named Scrappy for a reason” immobile!! Well, she is in enough pain that she is not moving/trying to use the shoulder.

Before you jump all over me for not giving her pain medication, the reason as explained by my vet is this; she will stay off the limb, stay quiet and let the nerves heal. If she was numbed of the pain, she would try to play like she is used to.  Crappy is not biting at me, not grinding her teeth or whimpering when handled.  I feel she is coping very well with her situation.

I have tried water therapy and she lay in my hand looking up at me totally unimpressed, not doing anything.  I am going to try again but for some ferrets, the water therapy is a bust!

Now, back to my reason for telling you all this!  This accident did not need to happen. I take full responsibility.  The MFA has 4 Ferret Nation cages. These cages were donated along with a surrendered ferret(s).  I personally think the Ferret Nation cage is the Cadillac of  cages. The large double doors make cage cleaning a breeze. The plastic floor pans are easy to slide out and clean. The shelves are nice and wide.

There is one  problem. The older model #142 had a plastic insert instead of a plastic tray on the shelving. The plastic insert has a tiny  gap and this is where ferrets were getting their front or back paws caught.

FErret Nation shelf with plastic insert-ferrets catching toes under angled bracket or along the edge

plastic insert

plastic insert

wire shelf without the plastic insert

wire shelf without the plastic insert

Now after several ferrets actually died and many more were injured, the Ferret Nation shelf was modified. Anyone with the original shelf could contact the company and the replacement shelf would be sent out. My understanding is that the cage owner had to contact the company. I had read about this problem but at that time we did not have any Ferret Nation cages in the shelter. So, in one ear and out the other as the saying goes!

By the time we started getting Ferret Nation cages donated with ferrets I had completely forgotten about the shelving issue.  In the last seven years we have received 4 Ferret Nation cages and until December 23rd we had never had a problem.  I wish that I had contacted the company and requested the replacement pan even though I wasn’t the original owner.  I previously had no time to go on line to Ferret.com to order treats(my friend looked after that for us) and so I did not see that they sold the replacement pan!

replacement shelf from Ferret.com

replacement shelf from Ferret.com

I have contacted the company, sent pictures at their request and now I am waiting to see if they will replace them free of charge because we are a shelter.  If not, then I will be ordering the shelves and bite the bullet at the $200.00 cost.

I am grateful that Scrappy did not die from her injury. I don’t know how I would have coped with that guilt.

So, if you have a Ferret Nation #142 check your shelving. If you have the plastic insert, please don’t wait till something happens! Learn from my mistake!