Morgan’s IBD Regimen for Bomber

Author: Morgan Tangren

Morgan was kind enough to do a write up of a regimen for an IBD ferret. Please note that every ferret is different. This is an example of a regimen that worked for one ferret, but may not be what is best for your own IBD ferret. Please consult with your vet if you think your ferret has IBD.

IBD is not an easy disease to deal with and it may take a lot of time and effort to figure out the best way to treat it for your individual ferret. I have been dealing with my ferret Bomber’s IBD since he was two, making it close to two years now that we have been battling his IBD. I hope that my experiences with Bomber will be able to help others who are dealing with IBD in their ferrets. IBD is like a mystery illness. It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of it, which can make it difficult to determine where to start. I would first try a trial run of prednisone/prednisolone. I tried pred with Bomber to no avail but there are others who have been successful with it. It could be possible that your ferret has an allergy to certain proteins. Chicken is a pretty common allergen. I would see if your ferret has an allergy to any of the proteins you feed. Say, feed one type of protein for three days and monitor poos, then another type for three days, and so on and so forth. We tried antibiotics and we tried a drug similar to Imuran, but I can’t recall the name, and that didn’t help him either. We tried only organic-fed meats, we tried filtered water, and we even tried Rescue Remedy because we thought it might be related to stress. It turns out my boy is sensitive to most poultry. He surprisingly does ok with chicken and duck, but anything else from a bird and he will have liquid diarrhea. No turkey, no quail, no cgh. He does ok on rabbit, beef, duck, chicken, and pork, but only if he gets his supplements. So there are a few things that DID end up working for him, and I can’t say they will help your kid, but there is certainly a propensity that they might. What worked best for Bomber was a more natural path of treatment, and honestly, if you can get it to work for your ferret, it is probably the most gentle treatment because drugs like pred can do damage over time or have some unwelcome side-effects.

This is the regimen I follow for Bomber:

I cut all of his meat into approximately one-inch pieces so that they are easier to mix with his supplements. If I use whole pieces, it is harder to cover the meat thoroughly and he could end up with diarrhea. I prepare every meal 12 hours before hand by mixing them with half a capsule of pancreatic enzymes

Then in the morning before serving, I mix in a capsule of Reishi Mushroom Extract

 a capsule of Gentle Digest (which is a probiotic/prebiotic mix)

, and a cube of pumpkin. (Note that HFF no longer advocates the use of pumpkin due to risk of insulinoma. Read A Rant About Pumpkin for more!)

All of these are safe for my other non-IBD ferrets to eat. For one ferret, if fed by him or herself, I would cut all supplements, pumpkin included, but not the enzymes, into fourths. I would cut the enzymes dose in half. So that would come out to be ¼ capsule of Reishi, ¼ capsule of Gentle digest, ¼ cube of pumpkin, and ¼ capsule of enzymes per ferret.

Unfortunately, Bomber does get a flare up every now and then and I’ve found one thing that works for him, and that is slippery elm bark powder. I take 1/8 of a tsp and mix it in some soupies, and give this three times a day for four days. Then I take a break for three days, and if he’s still having issues, I’ll do another four days. As long as I follow this regimen, Bomber does just fine, and I hope that my treatment regimen will be of some help to other ferrets suffering from this disease. It took me a lot of trial and error to get to this point and I know how stressful it is! Try to remain positive and just keep trying, because at some point, something’s gotta give.