For the past few weeks our eldest ferret, Samson (6 years old), had been acting lethargic. He’d flat ferret quite a bit, wasn’t bouncing around like he normally did and in general his get up and play time was getting shorter and shorter. On top of that some times when my wife and I picked him up he would squeak. Definitely nor normal for any of our ferrets. We finally decided to take him into the vet to have blood work done and a general checkup.
My wife took him in and by the afternoon the vet had his blood drawn and a series of X-rays done. She (the vet) was concerned about a mass in his stomach. It wasn’t metal but it did look foreign. IE, Samson probably ingested something he couldn’t digest and thus could not pass through his system. One of the biggest fears ferret owners have as intestinal blockages can kill ferrets in a matter of hours. Our vet wanted to run another series of X-Rays with barium contrast to see if she could get a better look at the object. For this they would need to keep him overnight.
The next day we got the call to come down and take a look at the X-Rays. To my wife and me the first series looked clearer than the one with the contrast but it was obvious, something was in his stomach and we were lucky that it didn’t get into his intestines. He was still able to eat and process food and poop ok but it had to be quite uncomfortable. Our little guy was going to require surgery to get the object out of his stomach. It was scheduled for yesterday morning with our vet promising to call us as soon as possible to let us know how it went or, if there were any complications, to address them as quickly as possible.
By midmorning my wife got the first call. The object was removed. It was some hard plastic. We’re going to have to scour the ferrets’ room to find where it came from since we’ve been very cautious about what we allow in reach of the ferrets. There was more. His adrenal glands were swollen to several times their normal size. Not uncommon in ferrets his age. Our vet recommended removing them and my wife agreed (I was asleep at the time). There was some bleeding when she went after the right gland but after a while Samson stabilized and seemed to do much better.
With the surgery over they wanted to keep him at least through Friday before releasing him to come home. This presented a problem since the veterinary office we go to is not a 24/7 facility. Either Samson would have to be left alone overnight or we’d have to get him to an animal hospital that is 24/7. Our vet, however, presented a third option. With our permission she offered to take him home for the evening so she could give him his medication and at check up on him throughout evening and morning when she is up.
So coming in to work tonight I got a text from my wife, “Dr K called. Samson is good. He ate a tsp of liquid food & is moving around a little. “ Massive relief on my part. We were told after the surgery we could go visit. I thought it would have been good since if I held him he’d have a familiar smell for a short time during this ordeal. I didn’t, though, as I my sleep schedule has been wonky the past few days and with work last night I needed as much sleep as I could muster. Hopefully we can bring him home later today.
At one point during all of this I had joked that for the price of the X-Rays and surgery we could get 5 more ferrets. My wife knew I was joking though. It’s almost exactly 3 years since we got Samson and Aesa. He’s not our first ferret, that would be Fex. But he’s our eldest and the sweetest, most docile and loving of the three. I know he won’t be with us much longer, a year or two at the most. But I want those years with him. I’m not ready to let him go just yet. Heck, I dunno if I’ll ever be ready to let any of our ferrets go. I’m glad that right now it looks like I don’t have to find out.