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What Vaccines Do Ferrets Need?

Every domesticated animal requires vaccination. Ferrets are not exempt and vaccination plays a major role in their health. A series of vaccines are carried out on ferrets, especially when they are young. Generally, ferrets require vaccines once every year.

They also need other examinations such as fecal tests for internal parasites and booster vaccinations.

But, what vaccines do ferrets need?

Ferrets should be vaccinated for rabies and canine distemper annually. This vaccine is given to ferrets that are greater than 16 weeks of age.

The canine distemper vaccine is also given to ferrets at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. However, local municipal laws vary depending on ferret bite. Many countries do not approve of giving rabies vaccination to ferrets.

Here in this article, we will be looking into all you need to know about ferret vaccinations. 

Right! Let us get to it.

What type of vaccines do ferrets need?

Vaccination is essential for all domesticated animals. And it’s something that should be carried out on all pets.

It helps protect them from contracting or transmitting infectious diseases. So, keep your ferret away from others until they are fully vaccinated.

There are two primary vaccines given to ferrets, the canine distemper and rabies vaccines.

Some cities do not approve of the use of some of these vaccines. 

Only one FDA-approved rabies vaccine is used in the USA and can only be given to ferrets above 16 weeks of age and then repeated yearly. However, if the vaccine is not available, a recombinant vaccine can be used as an alternative.

Currently, the FDA has approved a canine distemper for ferrets in the USA. This vaccine is only administered to ferrets less than 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, and repeated annually. 

Vaccines are carefully given, and only one vaccine is given at a time. That is to say that vaccines for rabies and distemper cannot be given at the same time. This prevents serious side effects from occurring.

Even if taken separately, your ferret could still have some side effects due to the vaccine. So, ferret owners are advised to keep their pets in the vet’s office for 20-30 minutes after vaccination for monitoring. Reactions are unpredictable and rare, but when they occur, they can be treated.

Another type of vaccine that can be used on commercially-raised ferrets is called Clostridium botulinum type C. It is administered to 6-8-week-old ferrets.

Why do ferrets need vaccines?

There is a widespread belief that when your ferret does not go out and associate with mates, there is no need for vaccination. However, that is a myth. Your ferret does not need to be around others to get infected.

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Canine distemper and rabies can affect ferrets even if they do not set foot outside. 

Canine distemper is an air-borne disease, which means your ferret does not need to associate with other pets before contacting it. Your ferret can get it from you through your clothes or shoes, which act as a major carrier.

Moreover, canine distemper has a 100% mortality rate. So, vaccination is essential.

Rabies, though a deadly virus, has relatively low case numbers around the world.

But, that should not stop you from vaccinating your ferret for rabies. Furthermore, it is always recommended you acquire rabies vaccination certification in case your ferret bites. If you fail to do that and your ferret bites someone, you stand a chance of losing your ferret to the state or even getting a worse punishment.

If you own a pet, vaccination plays a crucial role in your ferret’s health and the health of other pets around him or her. Giving your ferret that healthy life lies in proper vaccination.

What to do before vaccinating your ferret?

Before taking your ferret for vaccination, you would need to know his or her vaccination record. On the first day you adopt your ferret, ask the organization about any vaccinations the ferret has received.

This is to prevent you from double-vaccinating your ferret. 

If your ferret is already vaccinated, you would not need another vaccination; instead, you will go for a booster. It is recommended you keep a good record of the date and the year your ferret was vaccinated.

Also, you need to keep a record of the type of vaccine received. A proper check of all these would go a long way to help your ferret have side reactions due to the vaccine.

Ferret Vaccination Side Effects

Some ferrets are vaccinated, and the vaccines do well in the body system without side effects, while others take the same vaccine and experience some reactions. It is impossible to know if your ferret will be allergic to either of the vaccines.

That is why it is recommended you keep your ferret close to the vet for a few minutes to monitor the situation.

Unlike dogs and cats, ferret reactions can be severe and last up to 8 hours after receiving the shot. Most ferrets experience diarrhea, vomit, fever, and itching. If this is the case for your ferret, desist from using the vaccine.

Keep the ferret away from others to prevent them from getting sick.

While this could occur, your vet may want to test the vaccine on your ferret by giving it a small dose and watch out for the reaction. Sometimes vets do administer an antihistamine before the vaccine to reduce the side effects. 

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And remember, vaccination is not carried out on just any day. Consult with your vet to see your ferret’s vaccination schedule.

Who can vaccinate my ferret?

Ferrets treatment is more complicated when compared to cats and dogs. So, vaccinations should be carried out by an experienced vet. 

One thing to look out for is the type of treatment given to your ferret. Ferret treatment is formulated for ferrets, and using another might be hazardous to your ferret.

So, make sure you visit a veterinary doctor who specializes in the treatment of ferrets to schedule a vaccination plan for your buddy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How old should a ferret be before vaccination?

Ferrets are usually given their first vaccination at 16 weeks of age in the USA.

What is the vaccination interval?

Ferrets interval vaccination after the first comes annually. However, they can be given a booster to maintain their immunity during this period. 

Does vaccination cause reactions?

Some ferrets are allergic to vaccinations, and this could cause reactions. A vet may recommend a small dose to test the reaction before giving the full dose.

So, ferret owners are expected to leave their ferrets for 20-30 minutes at the vet’s office to watch for any reaction.

Can I vaccinate my ferret at home?

 It is recommended vaccination be carried out by a qualified Vet as this is a complex process compared to vaccination on other pets.

Can I Vaccinate My Ferret at Home?

Is ferret vaccination licensed?

Ferrets vaccination against rabies and canine distemper is not registered to be used in some localities. However, the FDA has approved the use of ferret vaccinations.

But places like the UK have not yet approved this vaccination. Instead, they use a dog distemper vaccine as an alternative.

Which diseases do vaccines protect against?

Vaccination protects against canine distemper and rabies.


Many people still believe that vaccination is only meant for a ferret that socializes with other pets. Many infectious diseases that require this vaccination are airborne, which can be carried by anyone, including humans.

So, to protect your ferret against these infections, you need vaccination. It is no longer a necessity but a norm if you need to keep your ferret looking healthy all the time.

to protect your ferret against these infections, you need vaccination

Also, it gives you extra protection from the state when your ferret bites

We have presented information to guide you through the know about ferret vaccination. However, do not contradict the information present in this article to the one professionally given to you by your vet.

Keep your buddy vaccinated to give them a healthy life.