Importance of Preventative Care

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The Importance of Preventative Care

Just as in dogs, cats, and people, regular medical care for your exotic animal family member is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. In fact, visits to your exotic animal veterinarian are often even more valuable, as exotic animals are adept at hiding signs of illness.

 

Husbandry/care and diet problems frequently underlie health issues, so starting out correctly can prevent more complex and costly problems down the road. In addition to a complete physical examination, the initial visit to your exotic animal veterinarian usually involves an in-depth discussion about your pet’s environment and diet. Screening diagnostic tests may be recommended depending on your pet’s species and history. This might include blood work, fecal analysis, and/or additional disease testing. In the event of detectable abnormalities or illness, more advanced or specialized diagnostic testing may be recommended.

Avian Medicine

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION EVERY 6-12 MONTHS: As prey animals, birds instinctually hide signs of illness. Regular physical examinations allow for the early detection and treatment of disease. Your exotics veterinarian and technicians can answer any health and behavioral questions that you may have. Depending on the age and medical history of your bird, we may recommend wellness exams more frequently.

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING:

  • Blood Work: Complete Blood Count/Chemistry Panel (requires blood draw)– Yearly blood work is recommended for most birds because they are notorious for hiding signs of illness. With information on cell counts and organ function, basic blood work helps the doctor evaluate your bird’s health more thoroughly, thereby assisting in the early detection and treatment of disease.

  • Fecal Gram Stain (requires fresh fecal sample)– Regular fecal gram stains help screen for microbial overgrowth, abnormal bacteria, and yeast in the GI tract.

  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Test (requires blood draw)– This disease is contagious between birds. It is fatal to most birds, although the course of disease ranges from weeks to several years. Birds initially show few signs, but may develop feather, skin, and beak issues over time. A small number of positive birds survive to become carriers that can unknowingly infect other birds. This disease test is recommended in all new birds. As long as there is no exposure to untested or disease positive animals, your bird may only need to be tested once during its life.

  • Psittacosis/Chlamydia Test (requires swabs of mouth/choana and vent/cloaca)– This contagious and zoonotic disease can affect humans in addition to other birds. Birds may show signs of illness or appear completely healthy while shedding the bacteria. Treatment involves a long course of a specific antibiotic. This disease test is recommended in all new birds. As long as there is no exposure to untested or disease positive animals, your bird may only need to be tested once during its life.

 

GROOMING: Regular nail trims or dremmeling of nails make handling your bird more comfortable, and help prevent snagging of sharp nails, which can cause injury. Most birds require nail trims every few months. Wing trims may be appropriate depending on your household and your bird’s behavior. This grooming can help prevent injury or accidental escape outside. Please note that beak trims are not considered a routine grooming procedure, as beak overgrowth and other beak abnormalities are usually due to an underlying health issue. It is recommended that any bird with beak abnormalities be evaluated by a veterinarian prior to trimming the beak.

Small Exotic Mammal Medicine

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION EVERY 6-12 MONTHS: Regular physical examinations allow for the early detection and treatment of disease. Your exotics veterinarian and technicians can answer any health and behavioral questions that you may have. Depending on the age and medical history of your pet, we may recommend wellness exams more frequently.

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING:

  • Blood Work: Complete Blood Count/Chemistry Panel (requires blood draw)– Blood work can be very valuable because small exotic mammals are notorious for hiding signs of illness. Routine screening blood work is recommended in many of our small exotic mammals. Annual testing in rabbits and ferrets should begin at an age of 2-3 years. Depending on the concern, blood work may be recommended in your smaller exotic animal family member, such as guinea pigs or rats. This sometimes requires a brief anesthetized procedure for your pet’s safety and to be able to obtain an adequate sample with minimal stress. With information on cell counts and organ function, basic blood work helps the doctor evaluate your pet’s health more thoroughly, thereby assisting in the early detection and treatment of disease.

  • Fecal Analysis (requires fresh fecal sample)– Analysis of a fecal sample may be recommended in your pet for the detection of parasites or other abnormalities.

  • Vaccinations/titers (ferrets only)– Rabies vaccination is required by law in pet ferrets. Distemper vaccination is recommended in most animals.

 

GROOMING: Regular nail trims make handling your pet more comfortable, and help prevent snagging of sharp nails, which can cause injury. Many of our small exotic mammals require nail trims every few months. While some people can trim their own pet’s nails, many prefer to have grooming performed by our trained staff members.

Reptile Medicine

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION EVERY 6-12 MONTHS: Problems with husbandry/care and diet are the most common causes of significant health issues in captive reptiles. Bringing your pet in for an initial visit lets us help you get started correctly. Regular physical examinations thereafter allow for the early detection and treatment of disease. During routine visits, your exotics veterinarian and technicians can answer any health and behavioral questions that you may have. Depending on the age and medical history of your pet, we may recommend wellness exams more frequently.

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING:

  • Blood Work: Complete Blood Count/Chemistry Panel (requires blood draw)– Blood work can be valuable because reptiles are notorious for hiding signs of illness. Depending on health and history, your exotic animal veterinarian may recommend blood work for your reptile pet. With information on cell counts and organ function, basic blood work helps the doctor evaluate your pet’s health more thoroughly, thereby assisting in the early detection and treatment of disease.

  • Fecal Analysis (requires fresh fecal sample)– Analysis of a fecal sample may be recommended in your pet for the detection of parasites or other abnormalities.

 

GROOMING: Some reptiles benefit from nail trims or dremmeling of nails to prevent catching on things in the environment and to allow for more comfortable handling by owners. On occasion, captive tortoises may require beak trims due to inadequate or uneven wear and resultant overgrowth.

Amphibian Medicine

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION EVERY 12 MONTHS: Problems with husbandry/care and diet are the most common causes of significant health issues in captive amphibians. Bringing your pet in for an initial visit lets us help you get started correctly. Regular physical examinations thereafter allow for the early detection and treatment of disease. During routine visits, your exotics veterinarian and technicians can answer any health questions that you may have. Depending on the age and medical history of your pet, we may recommend wellness exams more frequently.

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING:

  • Fecal Analysis (requires fresh fecal sample)– Regular analysis of a fecal sample is recommended in your amphibian pet for the detection of parasites or other abnormalities.

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