Following the launch of the GB Ferret (and other Mustelinae) Register in June this year, there are now over 500 animals registered, including ferrets, polecats and stoats from across GB. This data is vital in helping Government to build a picture of the size and location of the kept Mustelinae population in GB, and ultimately in helping to contain any possible outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Registration is currently voluntary in England, Scotland and Wales, but the intention is to make this register compulsory in the first half of 2022. The details of existing registrants will be automatically transferred over to the new compulsory register once it is live.
The threshold for mandatory registration of Mustelinae on the compulsory register has yet to be determined but will be shared ahead of the launch of the compulsory register next year.
In the meantime, vets in practice may wish to be aware that governments across GB are encouraging all keepers of captive ferrets and other Mustelinae to sign up to the voluntary register. Those who join the Register will receive updates and guidance from APHA.
Data will be used to help deal with any incidence of animal disease, with the aim of protecting public health. In the event of a suspected or confirmed case, or cases, of COVID-19 associated with kept ferrets or other Mustelinae, registrants will be contacted by APHA and provided with information and guidance on disease prevention measures.
Owners are being encouraged to access advice on SARS-CoV-2 and ferret keeping or to contact their vet if they have any concerns about the health of their ferret/Mustelinae.
Vets in practice may wish to make clients aware that they can register their animals as follows:
Keepers in Scotland can register, or call 01466 794323
Keepers in England can register or call 0800 6341 112
Keepers in Wales can register or call 0800 6341 112