Umbilical Cord Entanglement in Ferrets

Summary Information

Diseases / List of Physical / Traumatic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names See also: Umbilical Cord Infection in Ferrets
Disease Agents
  • If there is a large litter or the birth is rapid, the umbilical cords may become entangled. (B232.11.w11, B627.8.w8, B627.10.w10)
    • Rapid birth means the dam is unable to chew the individual umbilicus cord of each kit and this results in entanglement. (B602.5.w5, B627.8.w8)
    • The umbilical cord can become entangled before the kits pass through the birth canal. (B627.8.w8)
  • The umbilical cord can also become entangled in bedding material. (B627.8.w8, B627.10.w10)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
In Ferrets
  • Kits may be unable to feed due to the entanglement of the umbilicus cord, become hypoglycaemic and hypothermic; they can become dehydrated and may die. (B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5, B627.8.w8, B627.10.w10)
  • Trauma or a umbilical prolapse may occur if the dam tries to separate the kits' umbilical cords. (B232.11.w11, B627.10.w10)
  • Kits' limbs or tails may be lost due to the restriction of drying umbilical cords. (B627.8.w8)
  • Infection may occur in the umbilical stumps - see Umbilical Cord Infection in Ferrets. (B232.11.w11)
Further Information
In Ferrets
  • Use warm water to soften the umbilical cords. (B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5)
  • Clear the umbilical cords of any debris. (B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5)
  • Trim the umbilical cords back, but as far away form the kits as possible.(B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5)
    • Use blunt scissors for this procedure. (B602.5.w5, B627.10.w10)
  • Note: It may be necessary to sacrifice one kit, to release the others, if they have been tangled for several hours. (B602.5.w5, B627.8.w8) 
  • Warm fluids and antibiotics can be given if an infection is suspected. (B232.11.w11) See Umbilical Cord Infection in Ferrets
  • Monitor the birthing from a distance. (B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5, B627.8.w8, B627.10.w10)
  • Keep the umbilical cords or placentae trimmed back, if necessary. (B232.11.w11, B602.5.w5, B627.8.w8)
    • This should be done individually, when each kit is born. (B602.5.w5) 
  • Disinfect the umbilical stumps to prevent an infection occurring. (B232.11.w11)
  • Ensure the correct bedding material is used for the dam and not very coarse, sharp-edged shavings. (B602.5.w5) 
    • Umbilical cord entanglement may occur with the correct bedding as well. (B627.8.w8)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Author Bridget Fry BSc, RVN (V.w143)

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