Animal Welfare Information Center
United States Department of Agriculture
National Agricultural Library
Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Ferrets
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Bizley, J.K., I. Nelken, F.R. Nodal, B. Ahmed, A.J. King, and J.W.H. Schnupp (2002). An investigation into the functional anatomy of ferret auditory cortex using optical imaging and multi - electrode recordings. In: 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer and Itinerary Planner., November 2, 2002-November 7, 2002, Orlando, Florida, USA., Vol. 2002, p. Abstract No. 354.10.
Descriptors: auditory cortex, functional anatomy, ferret, optical imaging, area mapping, recordings, auditory stimuli, frequency tuning.
Christensson, M. and M. Garwicz (2005). Time course of postnatal motor development in ferrets: Ontogenetic and comparative perspectives. Behavioural Brain Research 158(2): 231-242. ISSN: 0166-4328.
Descriptors: ferrets, postnatal motor development, motor behavior, rats, experimental animals, comparative study.
He, T., H. Friede, and S. Kiliaridis (2002). Macroscopic and roentgenographic anatomy of the skull of the ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Laboratory Animals 36(1): 86-96. ISSN: 0023-6772.
NAL Call Number: QL55.A1L3
Abstract: Normal macroscopic and roentgenographic features of the skull of the ferret (Mustela putorius furo) were examined and described. Data were based on a sample of 100 (50 male and 50 female) adult ferrets of known body weight and age. The skull was described macroscopically according to six standard views, i.e. dorsal, lateral, ventral, caudal, cranial and midsagittal. The mandible was described separately. The roentgenographic characteristics of the ferret skull were demonstrated only in lateral and dorsoventral projections. Furthermore, the skull length and width as well as the minimum frontal width were measured, and skull indices were derived from relevant measurements. Sexual dimorphism was examined both morphologically and craniometrically. Besides the common features of a carnivore skull, the ferret skull is relatively elongated and flat with a short facial region. The skulls of adult male ferrets are about 17% longer and 22% wider than those of the females. Significant sexual dimorphism also exists regarding certain skull indices. The general features and some dimensional parameters of the adult ferret skull support the contention that the ferret would be an interesting and workable alternative animal model in craniofacial research.
Descriptors: ferrets anatomy, histology, radiography, skull anatomy, histology, skull radiography, random allocation, sex characteristics.
He, T. and S. Kiliaridis (2004). Craniofacial growth in the ferret (Mustela putorius furo)--a cephalometric study. Archives of Oral Biology 49(10): 837-848. ISSN: 0003-9969.
NAL Call Number: RK1.A6989
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: When suggesting the ferret as a valid laboratory model in craniofacial research, it is essential to know about its normal craniofacial growth. DESIGN: Sixteen ferret kits (eight male and eight female) were selected for the present investigation. Serial lateral and dorsoventral cephalograms were taken on each animal at a mean age of 25, 35, 55, 80 and 300 days. The cephalograms were then digitised and the coordinates of 33 landmarks were derived on each set of cephalograms. Thirty-four variables were then calculated on each set of cephalograms by computer image programs with the coordinate data. Results were analysed statistically, and the craniofacial growth pattern and related sexual dimorphism were described in three perspectives: lateral and dorsoventral viscero- and neurocranium, and lateral mandible. FINDINGS: In both sexes, the viscero- and neurocranium follow an orderly pattern of expansive growth in three dimensions. The growth of the mandible is mainly characterised by an anteroposterior elongation of the mandibular body, an enlargement of the coronoid process, and an increase in height of the alveolar process. The growth rate varies with site. Craniofacial growth in ferrets starts to slow down and finally ceases earlier in female than in male animals.
Descriptors: ferrets, craniofacial growth, maxillofacial development, physiology, skull growth and development, cephalometry, mandible growth, sex factors, skull radiography.
He, T. and S. Kiliaridis (2003). Effects of masticatory muscle function on craniofacial morphology in growing ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). European Journal of Oral Sciences 111(6): 510-517. ISSN: 0909-8836.
Abstract: Studying the effects of masticatory muscle function on craniofacial morphology in animal models with different masticatory systems is important for further understanding of related issues in humans. Forty 5-wk-old male ferrets were equally divided into two groups. One group was fed a diet of hard pellets (HDG) and the other group was fed the same diet but softened with water (SDG). Lateral and dorsoventral cephalograms were taken on each group after 6 months. Cephalometric measurements were performed by digital procedures. For SDG ferrets, the hard palate plane was more distant from the cranial base plane, and canines were more proclined compared with HDG ferrets. The SDG ferrets were also found to have smaller interfrontal and interparietal widths, and a slenderer zygomatic arch than the HDG ferrets. In the mandible, the coronoid process was generally shorter and narrower for the SDG ferrets. The effects of the altered masticatory muscle function on craniofacial morphology in growing ferrets seemed to differ from those previously reported in other animal models studied under similar experimental conditions. Such differences in the effects are presumably related to the differences in the mode of mastication, craniofacial anatomy and growth pattern in different animal models.
Descriptors: ferret growth and development, mastication, masticatory muscles, maxillofacial development, skull growth and development, feed, nutrition, facial bones, mandible.
Hoffmann, K.P., N. Garipis, and C. Distler (2004). Optokinetic deficits in albino ferrets (Mustela putorius furo): A behavioral and electrophysiological study. Journal of Neuroscience 24(16): 4061-4069. ISSN: 1529-2401.
Abstract: We compared the horizontal optokinetic reaction (OKR) and response properties of retinal slip neurons in the nucleus of the optic tract and dorsal terminal nucleus (NOT-DTN) of albino and wild-type ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). In contrast to pigmented ferrets, we were unable to observe OKR in albino ferrets during binocular and monocular viewing using random dot full field stimulation and electro-oculography (EOG). Observations during early postnatal life indicate that regular OKR is present in pigmented pups 3 d after eye opening but is absent at any stage during development in albino ferrets. Unilateral muscimol injections to inactivate all neurons in the NOT-DTN containing GABA(A) and GABA(C) receptors caused spontaneous horizontal nystagmus with slow phases away from the injected hemisphere in albino as well as in pigmented animals. Retinal slip neurons in the NOT-DTN of albino ferrets identified by antidromic activation from the inferior olive and orthodromic activation from the optic chiasm were well responding to intermittent bright light stimuli, but many showed a profound reduction of responsiveness to moving stimuli. The movement-sensitive neurons exhibited no clear direction selectivity for ipsiversive stimulus movement, a characteristic property of these neurons in pigmented ferrets and other mammals. Thus, the defect rendering albino ferrets optokinetically nonresponsive is located in the visual pathway subserving the OKR, namely in or before the NOT-DTN, and not in oculomotor centers.
Descriptors: ferrets, albinism, physiopathology, eye movements, motion perception, visual pathways, behavior, electrooculography, electrophysiology, nystagmus, olivary nucleus, optic chiasm, photic stimulation.
Johnson Delaney, C.A. (2005). The ferret gastrointestinal tract and Helicobacter mustelae infection. Veterinary Clinics of North America. Exotic Animal Practice 8(2): 197-212. ISSN: 1094-9194.
NAL Call Number: SF997.5.E95 E97
Descriptors: ferrets, microbiology, gastrointestinal tract, helicobacter infections, Helicobacter mustelae pathogenicity, biliary tract, disease models, pancreas, exocrine physiology.
Takemura, A., I. Toda, H. Ike, M. Uemura, Y. Tamaada, and F. Suwa (2004). SEM studies of the lingual papillae in the ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Anatomical Science International 79(August): 404. ISSN: 1447-6959.
Descriptors: ferret, lingual papillae, dental system, ingestion, imaging, microscopy techniques.
Notes: 16th International Congress of the IFAA (International Federation of Associations of Anatomists) and the 109th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association of Anatomists, Kyoto, Japan; August 22-27, 2004.
Triantafyllou, A., D. Fletcher, and J. Scott (2005). Organic secretory products, adaptive responses and innervation in the parotid gland of ferret: A histochemical study. Archives of Oral Biology 50(9): 769-777. ISSN: 0003-9969.
NAL Call Number: RK1.A6989
Abstract: To qualify cellular events of possible pathophysiological significance in the parotid of ferret, tissue obtained post-mortem from mature animals of either sex was examined by light microscopical histochemistry for calcium, protein, amino acids, mucosubstances and hydrolases, and by neurohistology. Calcium was localised in acinar cells replete with granules containing protein, disulphides and usually carboxylated mucosubstances. Acid phosphatase activity was basally concentrated in the acinar cells. The granular luminal region of striated ductal cells showed protein, tryptophan, disulphides, neutral mucosubstances, and E600-sensitive esterase and Naphthol AS-D chloroacetate esterase activities, whereas their basal region showed acid phosphatase activity. Strong periluminal activity of acid phosphatase and E600-resistant esterase characterised the collecting ducts. Cholinesterase activity was associated with an extensive network of nerve fibres embracing parenchyma. Catecholamine fluorescence was not seen. beta-glucuronidase reactive macrophages abounded in the interstices. The results suggest that while the acini in the parotid of ferret secrete polyionic glycoproteins, shielded by calcium, the striated ducts secrete tryptophan-rich products comprising neutral glycoproteins and showing proteolytic activity. Innervation is of the cholinergic type and parenchymal lysosomal activity, possibly related to autophagy of stored secretory products and heterophagy of luminal material, is brisk. Macrophages contribute to maintaining the glandular microenvironment, wherein secretory activity appears to be lethargic.
Descriptors: ferrets, metabolism, phosphatase analysis, calcium analysis, disulfides analysis, anatomy, histology, hydrolases metabolism, nerve fibers, parotid gland cytology, innervation.
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