Spay/Neuter in Ferrets

Ferret

Some ferret breeding facilities spay or neuter their ferrets before putting them up for sale. There are a number of reasons why a ferret should be “fixed.”

With female ferrets, spaying helps prevent mammary cancer, uterine infections, uterine cancer, ovarian cysts. With males, prostate cancer and testicular cancer can be avoided. Female ferrets can become dangerously anemic if not bred when in heat.

One of the reasons breeders spay and neuter is that they don’t want a buyer setting up a breeding program that doesn’t meet their standards and upset the genetics of their stock.

Ferret owners are well aware of their pet’s scent glands located near the rectum which give off foul smelling secretions. Spaying/neutering helps to diminish the odor considerably.

Most ferrets undergo spay/neuter just before their first heat, before males can become aggressive, to decrease odors and help prevent disease.

However, there is some controversy over early spay/neuter. The rise of adrenal gland disease is thought to be directly related to early de-sexing in which the reproductive glands are removed and in turn preventing proper growth due to what may be the lack of hormones. It is recommended to wait to spay/neuter until the ferret is 6 months old.

There is ongoing research with an injection of leuprolide acetate, a man-made hormone, to prevent adrenal gland disease.

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