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Does my ferret need to be vaccinated for rabies?
We recommend vaccinating your ferret for rabies in the following circumstances:
1) Ferrets at risk: those that go outside and may come in contact with a rabid animal (such as a skunk or fox).
2) Ferrets that may bite: if your ferret has a tendency to bite and should happen to do so, a disgruntled victim may demand proof your pet is not rabid. In this situation, your vaccination certificate from your veterinarian is your pet's safeguard.
My ferret is losing fur on his back and tail, is this normal?
There are many reasons for hair loss or 'alopecia', in ferrets.
The most common cause of hair loss is adrenal gland disease. This condition results in hair loss on the tail, back and inner back legs, scratching, and occasionally difficult urination in males and a swollen vulva in females. Adrenal gland disease can be managed surgically or medically. Consult your veterinarian to discuss the options. More information can be found on our ferret care page.
Loss of fur on the tail is a condition called 'rat tail' or 'stud tail' and is not a cause for concern. This alopecia can result from an unusual seasonal shed or from a stress such as a new cage mate or a move. The fur begins to fall from the underside of the tail and moves progressively until the tail is bare, showing small black dots (black heads) on the skin. Some people wash the tail with a medicated acne cleanser to help clear up this condition, although it often clears up on its own. Consult your vet before using any detergents on your ferret.
Female ferrets, Jills, can lose their hair if they remain in heat for too long. This condition is rare (most are spayed when very young), life threatening, and requires veterinary attention.
Other causes of fur loss that are not limited to the tail include parasitic and fungal infections, allergic reactions and poor nutrition, so it is wise to consult your veterinarian to determine the cause and course of treatment.