Ferrets are exquisitely susceptible to catching canine distemper, which is almost always a fatal disease. The disease is caused by a virus that is airborne and can also be tracked into your home on your shoes or clothing….. even on a bag of food from the pet store if the store is currently having an outbreak of the disease in its puppies. Although you may keep your ferret strictly indoors, he or she can still contract the disease! The good news is that there is an effective vaccine to protect your ferret from the disease. An initial series of three vaccinations should be followed by annual booster shots.
Ferrets are also required to be vaccinated against rabies on a yearly basis. Although rabies requires direct contact for transmission, it is a fatal disease…..and a zoonotic disease. If the neighbor’s child is playing with your ferret and claims to have been bitten/scratched by your pet, the situation can be quickly defused by showing the neighbor your ferret’s certificate of vaccination against rabies. There is a safe and effective vaccine for rabies…..and it is licensed for use in ferrets.