Below are some veterinarians we’ve either used, or know people who have used. This is our opinion, and should be taken as such. The vets below have not asked to be put on this page, and placement here does not mean we endorse the vet or their practice.
Dr. Robert Wagner
We’ve been working with Dr. Wagner for over 10 years now, and we think he is the most knowledgeable ferret vet in the area. He is deeply into research, and often has leading edge treatments not available elsewhere. He has a day job (Head of Large Animal Research at the University of Pittsburgh), so he does this in his free time. He recently left Fox Chapel VCA and is setting up a way to schedule directly with him. He sees people in the back room of North Boros Veterinary Hospital [do *not* call North Boros to make an appointment. He does not work there, but rents space in the operating room. Do not just “show up” there. Do not annoy the vets and people who work at North Boros, or this good thing will be gone.] and will be adding a night somewhere once he finds a place.
He does not sugar-coat things, but you will know what’s wrong and what your ferret’s chances are when you leave. He is fast at doing surgery, and you are expected to take the ferret home with you and care for it afterward. His stitches might not always be beautiful, but they do the job. If you are unsure about post-op care, we recommend calling the shelter for advice.
Secondary shelter vet:
Dr. Ruth Heller
3741 William Penn Hwy
Murrysville, PA 15668
Dr. Ruth owns and breeds ferrets. She is involved in a little research (distemper titer study) but not as much as Dr. Wagner. She is usually pretty good at taking the time to show you how to do things (like give sub-q fluids), but is a more traditional vet than Dr. Wagner. She makes her living being a vet and has her own practice, and this means that it’s easier to make an appointment. She has a very different take on things compared to Wagner and this can be a good thing. Not all vets are good at all things, and sometimes a second opinion or different approach is what’s needed. Dr. Ruth is a willing to come in on holidays if needed for emergency surgery, and that’s hard to find. She put a little girl ferret back together on Easter Sunday one year when the ferret’s stitches came out after being spayed. Not even an infection afterward, and that’s impressive. Dr. Ruth is a little slower doing surgery, but when she’s done, there will be no traces of blood and her stitches are very neat. Dr. Heller generally takes the ferret home after surgery and checks them from time to time overnight. You pick them up the next day.
Other vets that see ferrets, but we haven’t used:
Dr. David Dorn
West Liberty Animal Hospital
3055 West Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Dr. Dorn associates with Dr. Wagner and has been known to consult over certain cases. Several people in the ferret community use Dr. Dorn, and he does seem to have access to some of Dr. Wagner’s experimental treatments. He, too, has his own practice, which seems to be quite busy. We would take ferrets needing surgery here if we needed to.
Dr. Tom Wiles
Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic
110 Sandy Creek Rd.
Verona, PA 15147
Dr. Wiles is not as ferret-knowledgeable as some vets, but those who use him really like him. From what we’ve heard, he is willing to try to help and is compassionate. A few of the people in the ferret community use him for routine ferret care.
Dr. Mike Hutchinson
20411 Route 19 Lasalle Plaza
Unit 10 Cranberry Township, PA 16066
We haven’t used Dr. Hutchinson, but he comes highly recommended by rat owners and the few ferret owners we’ve spoken to who go there. People who recommend him get very enthused, and we’ve never heard anything bad about him.
This is not a comprehensive list, and we welcome recommendations and comments from other people. Not everyone will like the same vet, and remember that all vets will lose patients from time to time.
We recommend writing down questions before you go to the vet, and taking notes while you are there. We strongly recommend reading back the instructions and dosages to avoid misunderstandings. Always check the bottles before you leave … vet techs fill the prescriptions and being human, will sometimes make mistakes.
Keep your ferret’s records in a file and take with you every time you go to the vet. Record what was done, the date, and instructions. If you have to go to a different vet in an emergency, this can make a big difference in your ferret’s survival. If your ferret is sick, prepare by writing down when and what your ferret eats, how often they potty, what the poo looks like, the color of the urine, what his symptoms are, etc. If you can take a fresh urine sample, that will help the diagnosis. (If you don’t know how, ask and we’ll share our tricks.)