Vaccinations

From the American Ferret Association

Canine Distemper

Ferrets are highly susceptible to Canine Distemper Virus. The disease is virtually 100% fatal in unimmunized ferrets.

What vaccine do I use to protect my ferret against canine distemper?

FERVAC-D (US License No. 245)

TYPE: Live Attenuated Virus Manufactured by United Vaccines, Inc., Madison WI.
INFORMATION: Contact Roger G. Brady, 1-800-283-6465.

PUREVAX FERRET

TYPE: Manufactured by Merial, Duluth GA. For information, contact Merial,
1-888-MERIAL-1.

When should my baby ferret receive his canine distemper vaccinations?

Healthy ferrets should be given boosters at 8, 11, and 14 weeks, and then annually.

My ferret is 6-14 weeks of age with no, unknown, or outdated vaccination history. When should he receive his canine distemper vaccinations?

Give a series of 3 boosters given at 3 week intervals, then annually on anniversary of the last booster. Note: In a recent CDV outbreak some ferrets who received only 2 boosters — the last given at less than 14 weeks of age, succumbed to CDV.

My ferret is over 14 weeks of age with no, unknown, or outdated vaccination history. When should he receive his canine distemper vaccinations?

Give a series of two vaccines given at 2 weeks apart, then annually on the anniversary of the last booster.

Rabies

Although there have been fewer than 20 ferrets ever reported rabid in the U.S., the vaccine is safe and efficacious in preventing rabies in ferrets. All ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies.

What vaccine do I use to protect my ferret against rabies?

IMRAB-3 (US License No. 298)

TYPE: Killed Virus – Manufactured by Merial (formerly Rhone Merieux, Inc.,)

INFORMATION: Call 1-888-637-4251.

When should my baby ferret receive his rabies vaccination?

Standard use: 1 ml SQ in healthy ferrets at 3 months, and then annually.

My ferret is over 14 weeks of age with no, unknown, or outdated vaccination history. When should he receive his rabies vaccination?

Give 1 ml SQ and then annually.

Vaccination Protocol Recommendations
As is seen in all animal species, adverse reactions to vaccine products have been known to occur in ferrets following immunization. In ferrets this may be seen as a blushing of the ears, restlessness, respiratory distress, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, coma and rarely, death. For this reason, no animal should be vaccinated unless appropriate emergency measures are available to manage such potential occurrences. Following vaccination, the ferret should be observed for no less than 20 minutes, and preferably up to an hour, for signs of immediate hypersensitivity. AFA strongly encourages all vaccinated animals to be observed for a period of time no shorter than 20 minutes at the veterinarians office so immediate care can be administered if needed. Owners should be told to report any changes in behavior or signs of reactions that are observed in the ferret which may occur within 72 hours following the vaccination and report such occurrences immediately to the clinic.

Although there is no evidence that delivering more than one vaccine product to a ferret is associated with a higher incidence of adverse events, if a ferret has experienced problems in the past, it is suggested that each vaccine product be administered separately, so that in the event of a reaction the contributory role(s) of the product(s) can be more easily determined.

No animal should be vaccinated that has an active infective process. In addition, animals who have hematologic malignancies, or that are undergoing immunosuppressive treatments, may (A.) Produce a poor immune response which may not be protective, (B.) For live-attenuated viral vaccine products, experience adverse effects, including contracting the disease itself.

Information on the effects of vaccination on the kits of pregnant jills is insufficient. Administration of live viral vaccines to any pregnant animal is generally discouraged. Breeders should consider updating the vaccinations of both male and female animals at least one month prior to anticipated breeding if they are nearing their annual booster date. This will prevent the possibility of infection being transmitted from the breeding interaction and may confer some immunity to the kits through the mother.