Nail Trims – Reptiles, Birds, Mammals
Like hair/fur, nails grow constantly throughout the animals life. Under normal circumstances the animals ambulatory movements typically wear down the end of the nail. Unfortunately captivity creates artificial situations. Failure to keep nails short can result in secondary problems such as pododermatitis, a condition where the bodies weight is placed primarily on non weight-bearing structures. In addition, if unkept, nails can curl around and cause soft tissue damage to the toe and foot.
Beak Trims – Reptiles and Birds (aesthetic and corrective)
Whether it is for aesthetic reasons or directly related to a medical condition, inadequate husbandry, vitamin deficiencies or acute trauma. If unattended a beak that does not align properly will ultimately affect the animals ability to eat and could cause other soft tissue damage.
Wing Trims (primaries – above/below and at the level of the coverts)
This is a purely elective procedure in most cases and is not a necessity for adequate care. With that being said, there are many benefits to trimming a birds wings. Whether you would like to believe it or not, all birds have the potential to fly away at any given moment. While they may have no reason to leave, they are naturally curious and will often take advantage of an opportunity. Many birds, once outside, become disoriented, stressed and are unable to find their way back. Remember there is always a first time. NOTE: Please understand that even with an aggressive wing trim, all birds still have the ability to fly, albeit with decreased upward lift.
It can help decrease an overly aggressive and dominant birds’ personality. This will help the overall relationship between you and your pet.
Obesity and arthritis are the leading cause of inability for animals to properly groom themselves. This is a common problem among rabbits as a result of their anatomical posture. Under normal circumstances a rabbit will lift its hind end when it urinates and defecates. Periodically they turn around and groom/clean themselves with their tongue. In addition, they also reach back to consume cecotrophes (“night feces”- one of two normal fecal components), which is a natural and necessary part of their alimentation. Due to obesity and arthritis the animal is unable to perform these simple but necessary actions and therefore suffer from urine scald and fur/fecal matting. In order to maintain sanitary conditions they require frequent bathing and clipping.
Hormone Therapy: Lupron Depot injections can be used to control several conditions in both ferrets and birds. In ferrets it is used to treat and help prevent Adrenal Disease. It is also used in birds to help control overactive reproductive drives, which can result in aggression, feather destruction, and generalized anxiety.
Nutritional Support: Whether it is a reptile that has gone off its feeding schedule due to seasonal/environmental changes or a bird that has sustained severe beak trauma, assisted alimentation is an essential part of exotic animal supportive care. If not eating, birds require gavauge feeding (a process in which a trained veterinary technician or veterinarian, using a gavauge tube, deposits food directly into the crop – extension of the esophagus). This is a similar process in reptiles. The frequency of treatments is determined on a case by case basis. In extreme situations veterinarians will place feeding tubes directly into the animals stomach. This obviously requires special training and care.
Husbandry Consultations: The needs (temperature, humidity, diet, etc.) of your animal are often much more complicated than anticipated. Many owners turn to the internet or pet store associates. This can lead to a world of misinformation and general detriment of your animal. Talking with a trained and experienced veterinary professional can determine the outcome of your pets future health.