Ferrets are becoming popular as pets. Healthy pets are happy pets. Just like cats, dogs, and other animals, ferrets can get flea infestation. Ferrets get affected by fleas when they spend time outdoors. Exposure to cats and dogs that have a flea infestation can also cause infestation. Flea infection can leave your pet irritated and uncomfortable. In this article, we will talk about almost everything related to a flea infestation in fleas. Some top-quality products against flea infestation have been added at the end.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small external parasitic insects that live on the skin. They survive by sucking the blood of animals. They are of the size of the tip of the pen and vary in color from light brown to black. Although they do not have wings, they are capable of jumping from one place to another. They are thin and have flat bodies covered by a hard shell which makes them difficult to kill. They need to be squeezed between two hard surfaces to get them killed. They have a short life cycle and reproduce quickly. Your pets can be a potential host to them for reproduction. In case, you do not have pets your yard can be a possible host where they can thrive and end up giving you flea bites. You cannot get rid of them without having a proper pesticide treatment.
The most common type of flea that affects ferrets is Ctenophalides felis. Other types can also infect if ferrets spend most of their time outside.
What are the signs and symptoms of flea infestation in ferrets?
Ferrets of any age and sex are susceptible to a flea infestation. Ferrets itch naturally but those having flea infestation itch more often. Flea dirt is the feces of fleas that they leave on the skin of the animals. They are small debris that looks like pepper grain. During grooming, fleas and flea dirt can be seen moving in the fur and on the comb. Fleas leave the marks of bites on the skin that can lead to the development of secondary infections on the skin. If flea infestation is severe, it can make your pet anemic.
Itchiness and irritation can also be caused by ear mites which are often confused with flea infestation. However, there are major differences between both as fleas can be seen with naked eyes crawling in the fur while ear mites are smaller in size and can not be seen spotted. Flea infestation also leaves flea dirt on the body.
How do ferrets get flea infestation?
Ferrets are susceptible to flea infestation even if they are indoors all the time. Fleas are external parasites that can hitch a ride home on a human, dog or any item that is brought from outside. After entering the indoors, they jump on your ferret and lay eggs in the fur. If you have other pets in your house and they have a flea infestation, they can transfer it to your ferrets. Ferrets are more likely to develop infestation in summers. As there is increased humidity and mild temperature. If your pet has a flea infestation, chances are fleas are present around your home. Most commonly fleas can be found in the places like carpet, couch, backyard, ferret’s bedding, and hammock. The fleas you see are only one percent of the total population present in your home.
Flea allergic dermatitis
If your ferret has severe flea infestation, it can bite humans. This can be a problem for people who are sensitive to insect bites. Bite marks are visible around the ankles. The problem goes on its own once the parasites from the home are eliminated. Consult your physician if you are getting skin infections.
Can ferret flea affect humans?
If your ferret is having severe flea infestation it can bite humans and can be a problem for people who are sensitive to insect bites. Bite marks are visible around the ankles. The problem goes on its own once the parasites from the home are eliminated. Consult your physician if you are living in a flea-infested home and are getting skin infections.
The life cycle of fleas
Once fleas have found the host, they reproduce and spread their eggs in the home. When the conditions are favorable, an adult flea will lay 10-15 eggs per day. An adult flea can live up to 60-100 days, a single flea is capable of laying about 2000 eggs throughout her lifetime. Some of these eggs will fall off onto the bedding, the floor, and in the yard. Flea eggs can survive up to two years in a dormant phase while waiting for favorable conditions. It takes 1-10 days for flea eggs to develop into flea larvae. Fleas in the larval phase are most vulnerable and this phase takes about 5-11 days. After which they enter their pre-adult stage which can last from few days to few months.
This is the reason that many flea treatments cannot eradicate them completely. The best treatment is the one that kills adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and flea cocoons.
Preventing the ferret flea infestation
As they say, prevention is better than cure. It is easier to prevent fleas than treating them. Flea treatment requires about 2-3 months for complete eradication. Use flea-preventing products for all your pets after your vet’s recommendation. Ask your vet to calculate the appropriate dosage for each pet.
What is the best method for the treatment of flea infestation?
A flea infestation can affect all the pets in the house. Treat it as soon as possible. Ask your vet about the treatment method that is appropriate and safe for your pet. Treatment should be according to the health of the ferret.
Not all treatments are safe because some can be toxic for your pet and can cause health issues. These include
- Organophosphates and carbamates
- Flea powder and sprays
- Flea dips and dish wash
- Permethrin and pyrethrin
After treating your ferret, treat your home to prevent fleas from re-infestation. To treat your home, wash all the bedding, blankets, and hammock of your ferret with hot water for seven days. Use flea powder and sprays for your floors and furniture. Keep using until fleas are completely removed and it is safe to stop. To remove the larvae and eggs from the carpet, you need to vacuum daily for a week to agitate them. In case the ingestion is severe, you can use flea bombs as per the consultation of your vet. The treatment should be started as early as your ferret gets the fleas. Consult your vet and decide the safest treatment. Complete eradication of flea infestation will take about 2-3 months.
Steps to get rid of ferret flea infestation
- Consult your vet to choose a ferret-safe treatment if you spot fleas on your ferret.
- To remove the fleas from the fur, use a flea comb as it will trap the fleas from the skin. Do not let the trapped fleas, fall off the brush and put them in a zipper bag instead.
- Treat all the pets in your household for flea treatment.
- Vacuum the hardest and darkest areas too.
- Throw away the dust bag of your vacuum to prevent flea larvae from escaping back.
- While cleaning their cage and bedding, place your ferret in a carrier without bedding.
- After removing the bedding. Wash it with hot water.
- Use soapy water to scrub the cage and disinfect it.
- Keep the ferret away from the areas under treatment.
- When using flea powders and flea bombs, it is mandatory to keep your ferret away.
- In case of re-infestation, you should use the powder and bomb after 7-21 days.
All these tips can help you get rid of flea infestation.
Vet recommended products for flea infestation in ferrets
Following are some vet recommended products against flea infestation in ferrets. They are very effective against fleas with minimum side effects.
1.Advantage II Flea Prevention for Ferrets
The Advantage II flea treatment for your pet kills any flea present on the fur without laying eggs. Treating the home with advantage flea prevention will remove any egg or pupae found in the home. It is the safest treatment method against ferret flea infestation. Its active ingredients are imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen. They kill flea larvae, flea eggs, and adult fleas. Targeting every stage of the life-cycle helps to break the cycle.
Advantage II flea prevention comes with two monthly doses for ferrets that are 10 weeks old and weigh 1 lb. or greater. It is not safe for ferrets that are under 10 weeks of age and weigh less than 1 lb.
It kills ferret fleas within 24 hours of application and prevents re-infestation. The medication works by contact and fleas do not have to bite your ferret to get killed. It is easy to apply and starts working within 2 hours of application and is effective for a month. It is fragrance-free. It is a vet-recommended treatment specifically for flea ferrets.
The possible side effect includes the change in the fecal consistency.
2.Marshall 8-Ounce Small Animal Tea Tree Shampoo
Marshall Tea tree oil contains tea tree oil as an effective remedy to treat fleas and ticks. The addition of tea tree oil and spearmint controls the odor of skin and fur of your ferret. They enhance the quality without depleting of essential oils. Tea tree oil is soft and gentle on the skin. It helps maintain the pH balance and leaves the body clean with a fresh clean scent.
The addition of tea tree oil and spearmint gives your ferret a refreshing shampoo. It gives your ferret’s coat a soft and shiny look. For using shampoo, fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and wet your ferret. Apply a small amount of shampoo and lather well. Rinse with lukewarm water and repeat if necessary.
Keeping the coat of your ferret free from dirt helps reduce the risk of ectoparasites such as fleas. Moreover, essential oils on the skin are good against flea infestation. So, Marshall tea tree shampoo helps your ferret have a smooth skin with no chance of flea infestation.
3.BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim), Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Treating your home is important to prevent re-infestation. This involves regular use of vacuum for carpet because fleas can hide under the carpet and bedding. This is a vet-recommended vacuum that comes with RoboVac 11S, remote control, 2AAA batteries, charging base. It has an AC power adapter, a cleaning tool, an additional set of high-performance filters, cable ties, side brushes, and 12 months warranty.
It is slim in size, has a suction power of 1300 pa, and has 3 point cleaning system. Its BoostIQ technology can increase the suction power within 1.5 seconds if extra vacuuming strength is required.
Its consistent and powerful suction can work for up to 100 min. on hardwood floors and you can easily clean the home thoroughly with a single charge. When the charging gets low, it moves to its charging base in this way it is always charges and ready to operate.
The dust box of 0.6 L size can hold more dirt and you do not have to empty it more often. It operates at a volume no louder than an operating microwave. It has a glass-top cover for extra protection and is anti-scratch. Its premium features include an infrared sensor and drop sensing technology. These help evade obstacles and prevent fallsy. For optimal use, use it on low to medium pile carpets tiles, and hardwood floors. It is not recommended for high-pile carpet and dark-colored floors.
Eradicating the flea infestation can be tough and it requires a lot of patience and struggle. To get rid of flea infestation you need to be consistent and follow your vet’s instructions. Follow the treatment for at least 2-3 weeks or until fleas are completely eradicated. Incomplete flea eradication treatment can result in the emergence of any missed pupa into an adult flea.
To treat your ferret, you can use the above-mentioned products after consulting your vet. He can help you to get rid of fleas once and for all. This will result in a happy and healthy ferret.
- Wenzel, U., Heine, J., Mengel, H., Erdmann, F., Schaper, R., Heine, S., & Daugschiess, A. (2008). Efficacy of imidacloprid 10%/moxidectin 1% (Advocate®/Advantage Multi™) against fleas (Ctenocephalides felis felis) on ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Parasitology Research, 103(1), 231-234. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-0955-y https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00436-008-0955-y
- ELLSE, L., & WALL, R. (2013). The use of essential oils in veterinary ectoparasite control: a review. Medical And Veterinary Entomology, 28(3), 233-243. doi: 10.1111/mve.12033 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mve.12033
Last Updated on January 30, 2023