Monthly Archives July 2012

Does my ferret really need a dental cleaning? by Angela Cerone, veterinary receptionist

Did you know that ferrets can get dental disease just like your cat, your dog, or you?
We humans don’t always go to see our dentist twice a year, as we should, but when we get a cavity, we get there.
Because it is very uncomfortable; it hurts to chew, and sometimes, it even hurts to sleep.
We often don’t know when our little fuzzy friends are uncomfortable. Unfortunately, sometimes we only find out when they are in great pain.
There is a very simple solution: come in to the Veterinary Center for a check-up!
Dr. Hess and Dr. Ravich can see what we ferret parents can’t. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I don’t get up close and personal with the back of my ferrets mouth. It’s tiny in there! Besides, I was not trained to know what to look for.
Did you also know that along with “bad teeth” can come some potentially deadly diseases, such as infection of heart valves from bacteria that travel from the mouth to the bloodstream? Did you also know that these horrible diseases can be prevented by keeping your ferrets teeth and gums clean?
While brushing your ferret’s teeth regularly can certainly help decrease tooth and gum disease, even the best brushed mouths (animal or human) need professional cleaning periodically.
So, don’t wait until your ferret’s mouth is painful and he or she is not eating (or worse, develops some more even serious condition from infected teeth or gums)!
Call the Veterinary Center today to schedule a dental exam for your ferret!
Depending upon the state of your ferret’s mouth, our veterinarians will set out a course of treatment for him or her and will review with you a full written estimate for the procedure.
We can set up appointment for the dental cleaning when it is convenient for you.
You can drop your pet off before work and pick him or her up after work, that same day. Then it’s back to running, playing, and “dooking” it out with him or her again at home.
It’s just one day to a happier mouth and hopefully a longer, healthier life.

The top ten reasons it’s great to be an exotic pet

Exotic pets are great, no matter how you slice it. But here are a few very specific reasons you might not have thought of as to why being an exotic pet is really great:
1. You can poop/pee/vomit on the floor, and everyone still thinks you’re cute.
2. If you refuse to eat your regular meal, everyone freaks out and offers you a dozen different treats to try to get you to eat.
3. You can sleep 18 hours a day, and no one minds.
4. No matter what the time of year, the climate in the house is set to whatever is comfortable for you, regardless of what everyone else needs.
5. Whenever you do something silly or clumsy, even if it’s unintentional, everyone “oohs and aahs” at you.
6. Every time your owners have to leave you for a prolonged period, they feel guilty and shower you with treats when they return.
7. Because you are, by definition, an “exotic” pet, you are, without a doubt, more interesting than any dog or cat.
8. Your owners are constantly taking embarrassing photos of you that their friends think are just adorable.
9. Your owners are so concerned that you’ll be bored in your cage that they get you all the latest and greatest exotic pet paraphernalia – new bedding, bowls, hideaways, toys, etc.; it’s like your birthday all year round.
10. Your owners are so concerned that you’re spending too much time alone in your cage that once they get home, you come out, run around, wreak havoc, and they still love you!

I’m an exotic animal hospital receptionist: What stuff do I see? by Angela Cerone

Well, as a career veterinary hospital receptionist, I thought I had seen everything. I have spent years working behind the front desk at dog and cat hospitals and was sure I had heard it all…until I arrived at the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics. As a receptionist at an exotic animal hospital, I see quite a bit from my special spot behind the reception desk in our very busy waiting room. I love my job because I am privileged to see everything that goes on both in front and behind the scenes at the Center. I get to meet and interact with the most interesting people and their very unique pets and hear all of their stories. And exotic pet people’s stories are definitely different. If you work in a dog and cat hospital, people are pretty routine compared with the extraordinary people who own exotic pets.

As the receptionist, I have found that exotic pet parents love to chat with me and tell me all about their pets’ lives at home. What amazes me most is how extravagant exotic pet parents will make their pets’ rooms. Yes, I said rooms. While dogs and cats wander around the house with their owners and hang out in their favorite spots, exotic animals often get their own rooms with special furniture, window treatments, and rugs and much, much more, all made just for them. They will often spare no expense. To them, their exotic pets rule the roost.

The stories that I hear in the waiting area are incredible. If I ever need to know anything (and everything) about a specific exotic pet, all I have to do is make their owner an appointment and when they get to the Center, once I ask, “Hi. How is (pet’s name) doing?” That’s when it begins. I get to hear about their favorite foods, toys, hiding spots, etc.; how they got their names; where they came from; what other pets they have; their birthdays, and so much more. I have learned so much from our wonderful clients about everything from feeding to grooming and everything in between. And even though I have owned ferrets all my life and am considered the “crazy ferret lady” at the Center, I have even learned a few things about ferrets that I didn’t know before.

Not only do I learn all kinds of interesting information from exotic pet owners about their pets when they come in for routine check-ups, but also I also see all sorts of unbelievable stuff when these pets are brought in on emergency. I’ve seen reptiles who have actually gone a year without eating, birds who have flown away and come back, and bunnies whose teeth have grown so long that they are sticking straight out of their mouths. Most exotic pets are prey animals in the wild, and as such, unfortunately, once they start to show signs of illness, disease has often already progressed. This is not something I ever appreciated while working in a cat and dog practice. What I realize most, after seeing all the different types of emergencies that exotic pets are brought into our hospital for, is that even the slightest change in an exotic pet’s behavior should be checked out by our wonderful doctors. Something as simple as sleeping in a different area of the cage or as obvious as acting really aggressive or not wanting to eat can signal a real problem in an exotic pet.

Exotic pet owners certainly know their babies better than anyone else does. That’s why our staff has to ask so many questions to figure out what’s going on with our patients. The more we know, the better we can understand what’s going on with these animals, or at the very least, make them more comfortable.

So, at your next visit to the Veterinary Center, sit and chat with me, but be careful – my next blog may be about you!