You may know a little about melatonin and its effects on humans, but what does hormone do to ferrets and should you give this to them as a supplement? Used in the right way, certain supplements in the appropriate doses and at the right times of year can be helpful for some ferrets. Can i give my ferret melatonin?
There are many vitamins and supplements available on the market for your pet ferret. The key to keeping your furry friend happy, healthy and full of energy is to keep up a nutritious diet, exercise, fresh air, fresh water, sunlight and plenty of sleep. It can help to give some added supplements to prevent any future sickness but it’s not necessary. Should your ferret ever start to show symptoms of sickness, discomfort or depression then it might be time to try some vitamins or supplements to encourage recovery.
Adrenal gland disease is common in pet ferrets and produces symptoms such as loss of hair, itchy skin, musky body odor and inflammation of the prostate in males or vulva in females. Melatonin is an effective treatment for this condition.
Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by the pineal gland in response to darkness. The levels of production differ through the year seeing an increase during winter months and a reduction during the spring and summer. The increased production of this hormone will cause a ferret to grow more fur and gain a little weight in preparation for the cold winter months. Melatonin production will also regulate the animal’s breeding habits, the spring and summer being the main breeding season for wild ferrets. Over production of sex hormones is when you will typically see the symptoms of adrenal gland disease.
The best way to administer melatonin is to mimic the body’s natural release during the short days of the winter months. One milligram given orally around 7-9 hours after sunrise should be a good start, if there is no response then up the dosage to 3 milligrams daily. The only side effects that have been seen in ferrets are sleepiness for the first 3-5 days of treatment and weight gain.