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Characterisation of the French ferret population, husbandry, reported medical care and feeding habits

  • Géraldine Blanchard (a1), Maud Marsot (a2), Roselyne Bourassin (a1), Bernard-Marie Paragon (a3), Jean-Jacques Benet (a3) and Adeline Linsart (a4)...
Abstract

Ferrets have become a common companion animal. But no data are available on the French population of ferrets. The goal of the survey was to characterise this population, including demographic characteristics, husbandry, reported medical care and feeding habits. Complete data were available for 1205 pet ferrets in 709 households. Most ferrets (86·1 %) lived indoors, 1 % received only artificial lighting, and 47 % chewed their cage. For 60 % of the ferrets, body weight was higher in winter and lower in summer. Neutered ferrets (58·5 % of males and 62·9 % of females) appeared lighter than intact ferrets of comparable age. A majority (52·4 %) of ferrets received a mix of commercial foods and fresh foods, but 28·6 % were offered no commercial foods. Data were analysed using several multivariable logistic regression models including age, sex, castration, food type and artificial lighting developed for four clinical outcome (lethargy and/or insulinoma, dental problems, diarrhoea and/or bird-seed stools and alopecia). Predictors of four clinical outcomes (lethargy, dental disease, diarrhoea and alopecia) were examined using multivariable logistic regression, with age, sex, neuter status, food type and artificial lighting as the exposure variables. Aged ferrets were more likely to have lethargy, insulinoma, dental problems and alopecia. Ferrets with artificial lighting were more likely to show alopecia. Additionally, ferrets fed commercial food only or a mixed diet (both commercial food and fresh food) were more likely to have lethargy, insulinoma, dental problems, diarrhoea and/or bird-seed stools compared with ferrets fed fresh food only. We also found a significant association between neutering and alopecia. It is to our knowledge the first description of the French population of the ferret as a companion animal.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: G. Blanchard, email gb@vet-nutrition.com
References
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Journal of Nutritional Science
  • ISSN: 2048-6790
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