Ferrets - maintaining healthy growth

Ferrets and calcium intake

Ferrets are pure carnivores and live on protein and fat which is often obtained from animal based diets such as chicken or beef. These whole prey diets are popular, however although they are high in proteins they do not contain much calcium. Specialist pellet diets have also become increasingly popular, but one issue with complete diets is the quantity of plant protein used in the formulation. Some owners may also choose to use dog diets, but doing this may increase the plant material further.

When growing ferrets do not receive enough calcium in their diets, they are at higher risk of developing bone growth abnormalities such as rickets (also known as Osteodystrophia fibrosa, or nutritional hyperparathyroidism). Rickets causes the bones to become very soft (making it similar to bone cartridge) and will result in sore legs, being unable to walk, or in more severe cases developing fractures.

In Jills (females) it is particularly important to ensure enough calcium is being received via diet. During pregnancy, the body needs extra calcium, and if an adequate amount is not being received in the diet then it will be diverted from the bones and towards the kit m(infant).

One way to counteract any calcium deficiencies is to supplement their diet. When supplementing your ferret's diet you should always consult your vet first. As a guideline we suggest using a small pinch of Nutrobal three times a week for growing animals. For more severe calcium defiencies you may choose to increase the calcium further using Calcium Lactate (1 small pinch sprinkled onto food) or at the standard dose in drinking water. 

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