Vasectomy of Ferrets (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information

Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Deferentectomy
  • Anaesthetise the ferret.
  • Clip and aseptically prepare the caudal abdomen. (B232.19.w19)
  • Make a prescrotal incision just lateral to the ventral midline of the penis. (B631.23.w23)
    • Or make one incision either side of the midline, about 3 cm cranial to the testes. (B232.19.w19, J15.24.w5)
  • Bluntly dissect the soft tissues to visualise the vaginal process; isolate this from the surrounding tissues. (B232.19.w19, B631.23.w23, J15.24.w5)
  • Incise the parietal tunic of the vaginal process, exposing the spermatic cord and the deferent duct, which is white. (B631.23.w23)
    • Note: identification of the spermatic cord may be difficult, as it may be embedded deeply into fat. (B631.23.w23)
    • Use of a magnifying lens or dissecting microscope may be useful. (B232.19.w19, J15.24.w5)
  • Carefully dissect about 1 cm of the deferent duct away from the spermatic cord: take care not to damage the testicular blood supply. (B631.23.w23)
  • Ligate the deferent duct twice, with about 0.5 cm between the ligatures (B631.23.w23) using fine absorbable suture material. (B232.19.w19, J15.24.w5)
  • Excise a portion of the duct between the two ligatures. (B232.19.w19, B631.23.w23, J15.24.w5)
    • Submit this excised tissue for histopathological examination, to confirm that the correct tissue has been removed. (B232.19.w19, B631.23.w23, J15.24.w5)
  • Suture the parietal tunic using 1.5 - 1.9 metric (4/0 - 5/0 USP) suture material; closing the tunic protects the spermatic cord vasculature. (B631.23.w23)
  • Close the subcutaneous tissue. (B631.23.w23)
  • Close the skin incision. (B631.23.w23)
Appropriate Use (?) To produce a male ferret which can be mated with entire females to interrupt oestrus without resulting in pregnancy. (B232.19.w19, B631.23.w23)
  • Preferably carry out this procedure during the breeding season. (J15.24.w5)
  • Vasectomy does not change the dominant/aggressive behaviour nor the strong odour characteristic of the male ferret.  (B631.23.w23)
  • A vasectomised male is known as a hoblet. (B651.6.w6)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Postoperative scrotal swelling may occur; this resolves after 2-3 days. (B631.23.w23)
  • A period of six weeks should be left between vasectomy and use of the male for sterile matings, to ensure that any sperm remaining in the spermatic cord have degenerated. (B631.23.w23) Seven weeks should be given before the ferret is definitely sterile. (J15.24.w5)
  • Allow seven weeks between this surgery and use of the hoblet for sterile mating. (B232.19.w19)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Standard anaesthetic equipment

  • Surgical equipment.

  • Suture materials.

Expertise level / Ease of Use This is a surgical technique. This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
Cost/ Availability

The costs of a surgical operation include those associated with: (J15.30.w1)

  • Pre-operative diagnostics (e.g. radiography, ultrasonography, blood tests)
  • Anaesthesia.
  • Perioperative medication (e.g. analgesics, antibiotics, fluids).
  • Surgical preparation (of the operating theatre and the patient, including staff time).
  • Consumables and equipment.
  • Time of the surgeon and assistant(s).
  • Post-operative hospitalisation.
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).
References B232.19.w19, B631.23.w23, J15.24.w5

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