I live in Virginia and my ferrets are not currently on any medications other than distemper vaccinations. Do I need to worry about heartworm? Vet doesn't think so, but I don't really trust vets to know everything. Where can I go to get heartworm prevention if need be? They never go outside and when they they have to to go to the vets I cover their carrier with a towel and run them to the car because I do worry about heartworms
My advice would be yes, protect your ferrets from heart worm. I use Revolution for this. Others here have differing views. Ultimately you need to do what you are comfortable with and offers your ferrets good health and you peace of mind. Anywhere there are mosquitoes there are risks of heart worm infection. Ferrets kept indoors are also at risk.
Post by tuckntreysslave on Feb 17, 2009 14:42:20 GMT -5
I have read through this thread and the discussion between the two sides on using heartworm prevention. I live in a rural town in Maine and while we do have winters, the mosquitos in our area in the summertime will make you crazy. They are even worse in the northern rural areas in Maine. From my experience of having ferrets for the past 14 years and vaccinating all of them as well as not using heartworm prevention (before it was starting to be recommended for ferrets) and now using heartworm prevention, the use of vaccines and heartworm prevention has left my ferrets being very healthy and never having adverse reactions. I do not like medicating my pets, my children or myself if it is not necessary. My daughter has ADHD and the doctor recommended putting her on one of those lovely drugs they like to give kids. I weighed out the risks and also know my daughter and have not once put her on any of those medications. Some parents, though, have children who hae severe cases and medication seems to be their only hope. Are they bad parents, no, they need to do what is right for their situation.
As far as my ferrets go, out of the 5 I have been a ferrant to (3 females, 2 males) only one of my ferrets ever experienced chronic health issues. One of my females dealt with viruses, adrenal tumors, and then eventually seizures. Even with all that she lived to be about 5. I find it hard to believe that vaccines could be blamed for any of this, I think it was more of a fact that she was just a more sensitive ferret.
The other 4 of my ferrets either lived long lives and died of old age or are currently alive, on heartworm prevention in the warm months, and very healthy.
As far as heartworms being less documented in ferrets and cats, I noticed no one took into account that ferrets and cats are kept indoors more than most dogs are. Therefore they are less exposed to mosquitos.
As far as claiming that these vaccines and heartworm treatments have ill effects over time, I have yet to see that in any animal:, dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. All of which I have grown up with for all or most of my life. All of these animals lived long lives, except for a couple of cats who were run over by vehicles. Even my parent's Harrier, who seemed to be allergic to everything under the sun, lived to old age an ended up being put down because he was old and dying anyways.
All I can say is that everyone needs to do what they feel is right for their pets. I have heard of people trying to go all natural with their pets only to have to go back to man made things because of the adverse reactions their pets had to stuff. I have also known people who have had to put their pets on strict, all natural diets because of allergies and other issues the animals had with all the "man made" products.
If you do not have your ferrets on heartworm prevention nor had them vaccinated then bravo for you.
The rest of us who live in area where distemper, rabies, and heartworm seemed to hit close to home at times, we choose to be better safe then sorry. My house is swarmed with racoons, skunks, coyotes, deer, foxes, rabbits, bats etc, etc. Almost every night all year round, in the summer we've even seen the occasional bear. In the summertime we are also swarmed with mostquitos and black flies. I'm sure this summer, like every year, there will be the reports of rabid wild animals being found already dead or trying to get at people's pets, and also the distemper infected racoons. So because of all this and because I have yet to meet an animal in all my 27 years of being raised by a family and in a neighborhood full of animal lovers and owners, that had any adverse effects to heartworm prevention, I'm going to protect my ferrets.
As was stated before, in high volumes, anything can be toxic to you or your animals. Also, being currently pregnant, there isn't a whole lot out there that does not have a warning on it about consulting your physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Fetuses in any animal are sensitive to just about anything you could expose their mother to so that's not really a good argument for not using something. There are all natural herbs, and even some fruits and vegetables that pregnant woman are cautioned from eating or ingesting.
By the way, the only animal I have ever known to get heartworms, because of not being on heartworm prevention, was a cat. An otherwise, perfectly healthy cat.
Post by lnsybean44 on Jul 12, 2009 22:18:16 GMT -5
Personally I also choose to protect my ferrets from heartworm as we are outside alot and there are plenty of HW around. I dont enjoy the thought of using selemectin on my animals but it originally started as the only thing that would clear up choronic ear mites in my youngest boy and after learning about heartworm, it is definitely something I would prefer to prevent rather than treat.
Nothing is absolutely safe, not even water, and it has warnings on it for good reason. That said, selemectin is relatively safe compared to many other things on the market. But for us the risks out weigh the benefits and we have seen no adverse effects.
I would like to point out, after a conversation with the vet I work with, that with heartworm in cats, tests are often unreliable as others have pointed out. She also said that the first symptom of heartworms in felines is death which makes it really hard to truly tell how many cats in the general population have heartworm because people dont get necropsies on their pets, esp cats and dont test their cats for heartworm. And if they dont die from it they can fight it off a better than dogs can but that doesnt mean it cant still live in them and that it isnt natural for them to get it.
Once the cat has it, if they fight it off, they will develop and immunity, it is not automatic though. The cats at highest risk are actually the ones that live indoors since they dont have a chance to build up immunity.
Goodluck in your decisions everyone.
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2009 21:28:33 GMT -5 by lnsybean44
thanks to xvelvetfuzzbuttx from the ferret.com forum
Graduated from the Holistic Ferret Mentor Program October 19th, 2009