I Have a New Pet! Now What – Part 3, Exotic Pet Vaccines

This is the third and last post in the vaccine series and it has to do with exotic pet vaccines. Unlike dogs and cats, most exotic pets don’t need vaccines.  One pet that does need vaccines are ferrets. The need to be treated against canine distemper and rabies.

Ferrets are very susceptible to the distemper virus of dogs and catch it the same way dogs do; by exposure to another animal that has the disease by sneeze or cough.

Ferrets that catch the disease will become depressed. They will also develop a rash on the skin, nasal and eye discharge and eventually nerve degeneration. It’s very important to vaccinate because there is no treatment for this disease in ferrets.

Ferrets should have the first vaccine at 6-8 weeks of age and another booster vaccine at 10-12 weeks. Some veterinarians also give a third vaccine at 14-16 weeks. After that, it should be updated every year.

Ferrets should and are required by law (depending on state regulations) every year to be vaccinated for rabies. They can be affected by the disease the same way a cat or dog can be.

Here is a list of exotic pets that one might have that do not need vaccinations in the US.

  • Rabbits
  • Any and all reptiles
  • Any and all amphibians
  • birds
  • guinea pigs/hamsters
  • pigs
  • hedgehogs