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Ferret bite - health anxiety - tetanus and rabies? What to do?

(23 Posts)
ChompedByFerret Tue 12-Mar-19 19:55:06

Posting for traffic. I have health anxiety that's normally under control, but I'm quite stressed from being very busy with not enough sleep in general at the moment, plus this is a totally unfamiliar situation.

We had ferrets in the workplace this evening as part of a sort of wellbeing session. They were great but one got boisterous and nipped my arm lightly as it tried to go up my sleeve. I don't know much about ferrets, but if it had been a dog I'd have said it was just being playful and got carried away. Not mean or angry at all!

Didn't really think anything of it until it occurred to me I've not had a tetanus jab since childhood, so Googled it. But what came up was stuff about fecking rabies!

This has flicked my health anxiety on to a low level. I feel it's ridiculous to even ask but there's no rabies in UK is there? Googling doesn't help really because it says something about a type of bat maybe having it, so could the bat not infect other animals?

Is it just the same as if a kitten nipped me? Or should I do something? Bite itself is mild, just two pink dots in the arm!

Patchworksack Tue 12-Mar-19 19:58:30

Miniscule risk of rabies. They will give you a tetanus jab if you present at minor injuries but v low risk from animal bites. Main risk is bacterial infection and if a bite has broken your skin you may need antibiltics. Wash it out really well and see GP or minor injury unit.

Patchworksack Tue 12-Mar-19 19:58:56


Divgirl2 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:59:18

It's the same as a kitten or a rabbit or any other domestic animal biting you. As long as you feel fine (a bit of a task with health anxiety but I find a moment of mindfulness helps ground me a little), you likely are fine.

I used to have pet ferrets, would a fun fact make you feel better? Female ferrets can die from not getting any rumpy pumpy.

OftenHangry Tue 12-Mar-19 20:08:20

It's exactly the same like if kitten nipped you.
I assume nipped means it didn't even draw blood?
To calm you down
"It is extremely rare in the UK. There have only been four deaths since 2000 - all in people who were bitten by dogs abroad.

The last case where someone was infected in the UK occurred in 1922, the last death from indigenous rabies was in 1902.

In 2003, it was recognised UK bats may carry a rabies-like virus. A man who worked as a bat-handler died from the infection, which was probably acquired in Scotland."
From bbc.

ILoveBray Tue 12-Mar-19 20:45:33

Antibiotics required. Unlikely to need a Tetanus booster, but A and E would give you one anyway.

It's incredibly unlikely this Ferret would be carrying Rabies. Our quarantine laws are very strict, and being an island helps. It's not like the USA where wild animals sometimes carry it. Please don't worry about that.

DramaAlpaca Tue 12-Mar-19 20:50:04

My DC used to keep ferrets. We've all been bitten lots & never needed any treatment, no antibiotics or anything. I did ask our GP who said it wasn't necessary. For a cat bite yes, but not a ferret. And there's no risk of rabies in the UK or Ireland. Just keep the wound very clean & if there is any redness, get it checked out.

Maneandfeathers Tue 12-Mar-19 20:52:25

What would I do? Nothing
Been bitten is a daily hazard of my job and I wouldn’t think twice.

Antibiotics for two pink dots really hmm

SmallIslandLass Tue 12-Mar-19 20:56:56

You'll be fine I keep ferrets and get bitten often I'm surprised it only nipped they like to hold on, if your really worried pop some antiseptic cream on it I can understand the worry though

AFistfulofDolores1 Tue 12-Mar-19 20:57:50

There is no rabies in the UK.

LikeDolphinsCanSwim Tue 12-Mar-19 21:00:26

There’s no rabies in land animals in the UK; there is in bats.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Tue 12-Mar-19 21:02:08

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Songsofexperience Tue 12-Mar-19 21:06:59

Why on earth would you post that answer at someone with health anxiety??

Whoknows11 Tue 12-Mar-19 21:10:41

If there was a risk you'd get the rabies immune globulin which would work straight away and you'd have the vaccine!

We vaccinate bat handlers in the UK against rabies and that's it.

Please do not worry!

keepforgettingmyusername Tue 12-Mar-19 21:10:41

You'll be fine. See the doctor for reassurance.

ChompedByFerret Tue 12-Mar-19 21:11:52

@Divgirl2 grin I read that about girl ferrets, it's quite a dramatic consequence!

MamaWeasel Tue 12-Mar-19 21:14:19

Honestly, you'll be fine. Ferrets' mouths are "clean" (unlike cats' mouths which are germy.

You're more likely to need tetanus injections after being stabbed while trying to remove a staple from a piece of paper.

ChompedByFerret Tue 12-Mar-19 21:19:17

Thank you all, I feel somewhat reassured smile

@SmallIslandLass it definitely wasn't a bite that meant business, there was no force in it. More of a friendly nibble!

@TheBreastMilkisOnMe Not sure if you think you're being funny, but I don't think it's true that you die so fast if you are indeed bitten by a rabid animal. You have a small window of time to take a medication before it gets to the brain and then it's too late for any help. But you don't actually die for a bit, until you start to show symptoms a month or two later.

ChompedByFerret Tue 12-Mar-19 21:20:33

They were very cute! Really soft to stroke. Apparently they like to go inside your sleeves or jackets to cuddle up.

MamaWeasel Tue 12-Mar-19 21:29:25

They do indeed! 😁

MamaWeasel Tue 12-Mar-19 21:29:58

That was meant to be a smile not a grimace!

DramaAlpaca Tue 12-Mar-19 21:38:00

Awww! I miss our ferrets sad They are such cute little creatures with comical personalities. We loved ours.

stayathomegardener Tue 12-Mar-19 21:53:51

Am confident you will be fine.
DD's ferrets had babies when she was 8 and she trained the nine little ones.
The only bite I made her clean properly was when one went right through her thumb. It was just playing.
Never had a ferret bite go septic unlike cats or even hawthorn thorns.

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