Man Buys Toy Poodles, Learns They’re Ferrets on Steroids

PetMD Editorial
April 10, 2013
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A man from Catamarca took bargain shopping to a new extreme when he purchased what he thought to be a pair of Toy Poodles from the La Salada market in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The man learned the hard way that his reasonably priced dogs were not what they seemed to be.

According to a Buenos Aires news report, the man took his new “Poodles” to the veterinarian for vaccinations and received the shocking news. The veterinarian revealed that the pair were actually ferrets on steroids. The veterinarian believes that the two were given steroids at birth to increase their size and alter their physical features to resemble the in-demand dog breed. The disguised ferrets were also groomed to look fluffy like a Toy Poodle.

This is not the first time a perspective buyer was duped into believing they were purchasing a pure bred dog for a bargain price. Previously, a local TV station reported that a woman believed she was buying a Chihuahua for a fraction of the cost, but it was also a ferret.

Not only is this an unjust practice, it is detrimental to the health of the ferret being put on steroids. “From an animal welfare standpoint, it’s atrocious,” says Ashley Gallagher, a veterinarian at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. “You are unnecessarily injecting this poor little ferret with [steroids] to alter its physique.”

If you’re on the market for a Poodle, we compiled a list of ways to tell the difference between a Toy Poodle and a ferret so you don’t make the same mistake:

  • Toy Poodles are generally 10 inches (or under) at the highest point of the dog’s shoulders
  • Toy Poodles have short bodies and longer legs
  • Ferret have long bodies and shorter legs
  • Ferrets have a longer tail
  • Ferrets have a distinct smell
  • Toy Poodles have a lifespan of about 10-15 years
  • The lifespan of a ferret is only about 5-8 years

“The most important thing to do in these circumstances is client education for the scammed owners,” adds Jennifer Coates, veterinarian and Fully Vetted blogger. “Ferrets need love just as much as Toy Poodles.”

The whereabouts of the ferrets are unknown. At the time of the story, the man and woman who were scammed had not taken legal action.

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