Neutering And Contraception For Ferrets
Ferrets are a very unusual species in the way that they breed.
Sadly, for female ferrets, a lack of male attention (or an injection to simulate the same) during their cycle can even be fatal! Looking after the reproductive health of your ferrets is a key part of ferret ownership.
To discuss what is best for your ferret, contact your local practice.
More about neutering and contraception for your ferret
There are several different ways to stop a jill from coming into season, and therefore preventing the development of anaemia and risk of death.
- Spaying. The removal of the female reproductive tract. This will prevent cycling long term, and will also reduce the smell of the jill.
- Mating her with an intact (uncastrated) male. This will stop the heat, but will very likely also result in a litter and is not recommended unless you are planning on breeding your ferrets.
- Mating her with a vasectomised male. This will stop the heat, but will not reduce her smell. This will need to happen several times throughout the breeding season, every time she comes into heat again. This can also lead her to believe she is pregnant and have a false pregnancy, which can cause aggression, nesting behaviour and even milk production.
- Giving her hormone injections. This is often referred to as a jill jab and will suppress heat. Given just before or right at the start of the breeding season, the jill jab often prevents heat for the full period, although some jills may need more than one injection per breeding season.
- Give her a hormone implant (off-licence) which will stop her cycling for 18 months. This will also reduce her smell, although this reduction can take some time to develop.
There are three options for preventing male ferrets from reproducing:
- Castration - the removal of the testicles. This can help reduce the smell of male ferrets, possibly reduce aggression, and also removes the drive to mate.
- Vasectomy - removing a section of the sperm duct to prevent them from being able to impregnate the female. Unlike in humans, a vasectomy in ferrets cannot be reversed. This does not remove any testosterone, so males will still mate with females, only unsuccessfully, and will still smell.
- Giving him a hormone implant. This lasts 16 months, and means he will be unable to impregnate any females in this time. This will also reduce the smell of your male ferret.