Tracheal Wash in Ferrets (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information

Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords  
  • Anaesthetise the ferret.
  • Intubate the ferret.
  • Pass an open-ended urinary catheter through the endotracheal tube.
    • Preferably reach the level of the tracheal bifurcation.
  • Inject 2-3 mL warm sterile saline solution.
  • Tap of the ferret's rib cage to induce coughing
  • Aspirate the fluid.
  • Prepare the samples and submit for appropriate testing.


Appropriate Use (?)
  • In the investigation of respiratory disease: to obtain samples for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing, and for cytological examination. (B602.2.w2)
Notes --
Complications/ Limitations / Risk --
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Urinary catheter

  • Sterile saline

  • Syringe

  • Sample tube

Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
Cost/ Availability The costs are mainly those associated with anaesthesia, and with testing of the samples recovered.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery." (see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).
Author Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
References B602.2.w2

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