Bolton Ferret Welfare - February 1996
Friday the 15th December, 1995 we received a phone call from a Veterinary Surgeon in Colne which went something along the lines of "We've been given your number by the R.S.P.C.A., we've had a stray ferret here for a week can you take it off our hands?" We say that we'll pick it up as soon as we've fitted new spring bushes to the Land Rover or arranged alternative transport. I make plans to collect the ferret on the following Monday evening the 18th.
We also moving, temporarily, to another house whilst this one is being renovated so things are a bit hectic. Ron has dropped me off with a load of stuff at the temporary accommodation and gone back to get another load. He arrives back but with only a pet carrier on the passenger seat of the Land Rover. I wonder what on earth he is playing at, I ask why he's got the carrier - the reply "It's got a ferret in it", I ask who. Answer "Don't know his name, I've just picked it up from the Guide Dog Centre, the R.S.P.C.A. gave them our number". The ferret, a sandy hob, had a wound under its chin. We took it home and I bathed the wound with warm salt water, the ferret was very good about it but it must have been sore because he tried to push my hand away. He was placed in a spare cage with a couple of day old chicks.
My friend called for me at 4 p.m. to run me over to the vets at Colne. When we arrived I was told that the ferret, an albino hob, had started sneezing and had developed a cough on Saturday. I said that I'd take it - I didn't want to have to travel to Colne again to pick up the ferret. I gave Sue £4 towards the cost of the petrol.
Tuesday morning, after listening to the ferret coughing and sneezing all night I phoned the local R.S.P.C.A. to see if they would help with the vets fees. I was told that as the ferret had been picked up out of their area it was the responsibility of the other branch - I was given the phone number of the other branch. I 'phoned them and asked for assistance, they were going to collect the ferret from me - after I'd had the expense of collecting the ferret from Colne they wanted to take it off me!!!!! I informed them that I was quite happy to keep the ferret but I wanted financial help with the veterinary treatment, I was informed that the ferret was now out of their area and it was the responsibility of the Bolton Branch. End of phone call. I was now beginning to feel as if I was going round in circles and the air was beginning to turn rather blue. Five minutes later the phone rang - it was the Bolton R.S.P.C.A. they'd had a change of heart and offered to send a £5 voucher towards the cost of treatment. I'd already made an appointment for the albino hob - I felt that he needed some treatment more than we needed Christmas dinner. I ended up taking both the ferrets.
The vet said that the sandy had an abscess, probably the result of a bite, he was given a course of antibiotic tablets, the albino received a more thorough examination the diagnosis was upper respiratory infection, he was given a course of the same antibiotic tablets. Total cost of treatment £12. A week later Bill and Ben are back at the vets for a check up. Bill's abscess still looks nasty and Ben is still coughing and sneezing. Bill is first on the table, I tell the vet that we've tried to clean up the abscess with warm salt water but we hadn't had much luck. The vet now thinks that it could be an infected wart and he'll have him in the following morning to have it removed and cauterised. Ben is checked out, his lungs are still clear and he is given more antibiotics. Total cost of treatment £10.
Bill is taken in for his operation, I decide that whilst Bill is going to be given anaesthetic he might as well be neutered at the same time. When I went to collect him, the vet had discovered that the 'wart' was an abscess after all - the vet had been able to shave the area and clean it up. Total cost for castration and more antibiotics £25.
26th January and Bill's abscess has returned the vet is now going to try an extended course of antibiotics. 10 days supply of antibiotics plus consultation £7.50.
Treacle joined us at the end of October, when I picked him up he weighed in at 1lb 9oz, he was a right skinny little thing, with a bit of TLC he's up to 3lb 2oz. Yes Treacle was another R.S.P.C.A. referral, we had to travel to Westhoughton for him but it's not far from Bolton so that wasn't too bad, so far he has cost me £20 for neutering. Grand total of my helping the R.S.P.C.A. £78.50 towards which the Bolton branch contributed the princely sum of £5. I don't object to picking up ferrets within a few miles radius of home but when I am expected to travel across Lancashire, well a 60 mile round trip, to collect a stray the least I expect is some financial help. B.F.W. only did 4 shows last year, and the donations soon went on neutering fees etc. Words fail me over the R.S.P.C.A.'s attitude towards ferrets, I thought the 'A' stood for Animals, a ferret is furry, has four legs, a head, a tail, can't talk is domesticated and relies on humans to care for it - to me that constitutes an animal!
I had fully intended to re-home Bill and Ben but they are staying with us, I'm hoping that they'll slip in with Treacle and Inga. Bill is going next week for his 'op' so that's another £20, and all three of them need C.D. jabs which I might be able to get for around £23, it depends on how much discount I can get off the vet for quantity, and then there is still Bill's ongoing treatment for the abscess
(First published February 1996)