Q: My ferret is only 9 weeks old. This afternoon I noticed when I took her out of her cage to bathe her that she has a slight bruise on her belly, and she is not moving her back paw. To me, it looks swollen. She was fine yesterday and playing as normal. I let her climb a bit on me and she is not putting any pressure on that foot. What can I do?
A: The best answer is to bring your ferret to her veterinarian as soon as you can. This could be an infection, a soft tissue injury or a bony injury.
If this is an infection (there may be a cut that you cannot see under the hair coat), she might need antibiotics and foot soaks to decrease the swelling. If this is a soft tissue injury, such as a muscle strain or a ligament injury, she might need nothing more than rest and possibly a small bandage to support the area. If this is a bony injury, such as a fracture or luxation, she might need surgery or a splint applied by your veterinarian.
Your ferret’s veterinarian might be able to tell which of these has happened to your ferret just by palpation. If necessary, the vet may suggest radiographs and blood tests.
On the positive side, young animals can heal much quicker than adults. There is a good chance, once you have this diagnosed and treated, that your ferret will be looking great in a very short time.