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Do Pet Ferrets Need Any Vaccinations?

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If you've ever kept a dog or a cat in the past, then you know that these larger pets often need a lot of vaccinations and top-up shots. However, if you're thinking of getting a smaller animal, like a ferret, then you may not be sure if they need as many, if any, vaccinations.

While small pets that live in the home may have fewer vaccination needs than larger animals, they often still need core protection from some diseases or illnesses. For example, your vet may recommend that you have your ferret inoculated against distemper. Why?

What Is Distemper?

Distemper is a contagious illness that is caused by an airborne virus. The disease can affect a ferret's breathing, its digestive system and its nervous system. This can be a serious condition that ultimately leads to death.

Why Vaccinate an Indoor Ferret?

Like dogs, ferrets can be vaccinated against distemper. Do this at a young age with a series of top-up booster shots every year, and your ferret should be safe from ever catching the virus in the first place.

While you may think that your pet ferret won't need a vaccination because you'll keep it in your home and won't let it outdoors, this won't always work. Your pet may not come across other animals that are carrying the virus if it is kept indoors, but there is no guarantee that it may not be exposed to the virus in other ways.

For example, the fact that distemper is an airborne virus means that you might bring it home with you. If you're exposed to the virus, you may pass it on to your pet via your clothes or shoes. You may not know that this is happening, but there is a chance that your ferret will pick up distemper from these traces on you.

Plus, if you ever need to take your ferret to the vet, it may pick up the virus there. You can't predict when this might happen.

Distemper can't be cured. If your ferret gets it, it is likely to get seriously ill and die. However, if you follow a recommended vaccination program, you protect your pet against the disease so you'll avoid potential problems that might arise down the line.

To find out more about when you need to have your ferret vaccinated against distemper and how often it will need a booster shot, ask your vet for advice. They can set up an animal vaccination schedule for you.