A note on Kodo's Hill

For those in the ferret community who are familiar with the name, yes, I named Kodo's Hill in tribute to a special little ferret boy from Michigan. In May of '97, while at a pet exhibition, a stranger received a small puncture wound from Kodo's teeth (I don't think it could have been dignified by the term "bite"). Kodo was impounded because of the threat of rabies, and after 43 days of being quarantined - during which ferret lovers all over the country fought heroically to save his life - the poor little guy was put to death and tested for rabies. Which he did NOT have!

Since this awful tragedy, Kodo has become a symbol to ferret people everywhere. A symbol of the often terrible misconceptions that people have about ferrets, and of the constant efforts that their human parents must make to educate others. And he's a symbol of how much love people have for these little carpet sharks and how much those people are willing to fight on the fuzzies' behalf. Kodo now has friends everywhere, and maybe he knows it, too.

There used to be a website primarily devoted to Kodo, with the domain name of www.kodo.net, but it seems to be down for some reason. I recommend Googling for "kodo ferret rabies" or something similar.

(I'll state here the situation about ferrets and rabies as I understand it. Ferrets can get rabies, but the chances of them passing it on to humans have proven to be very small. From around the '50s until the late '70s - when a ferret-approved rabies vaccine was developed - only about 12 cases of ferrets contracting rabies were reported; there have never been ANY reported cases of ferrets transmitting rabies to a human. Compare this with the number of reported cases involving dogs and cats. Don't let the "experts" snow you with pronouncements about the rabies threat from ferrets!)

There is some good news, however. The American Veterinary Medical Association's Compendium of Animal Rabies Control, which gives recommendations on the treatment of possible rabies cases, has been modified to include ferrets alongside cats and dogs. Here is a link to the 1999 Compendium, as presented on the AVMA's website. I recommend reading it; pay particular attention to Paragraph B.6. Essesntially, the Compendium recommends a ten-day quarantine period for cats, dogs and ferrets that have bitten somebody, and if they show no symptoms, they should be deemed free of rabies and should be released. Granted, not all areas in the country may comply with the Compendium - it is only a recommendation - but most places do. As it stands, the Compendium can be a powerful tool in the fight for an otherwise innocent pet's life. There don't have to be any more Kodos.

I have no plans to include Kodo in any of my stories - I don't feel that I have the right to write about him - but I can assure you that he's somewhere else under the Bridge. Murphy probably knows him; Murphy knows everybody.