Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s true! That goes for what’s written on websites, on Facebook, in magazines, even in literature created by people claiming to be experts about particular subjects. This is particularly relevant when it comes to bird and exotic pet care. When cats and dogs get sick, the first place that most pet owners turn to is their trusted veterinarian. With birds and exotic pets, however, very few pet owners even think to seek out veterinary advice but instead go directly to the Internet or to the local pet store for information.
Find A Good Bird and Exotic Veterinarian
Unfortunately, they are then often given outdated or misinformation which either doesn’t help their pet or which may actually make matters worse. Ultimately, hopefully they eventually seek out care from a licensed veterinarian and veterinary technician trained to treat the species they own. That means actually bringing the pet to an animal hospital for a thorough examination, so that the bird and exotic veterinary professionals can logically determine what tests need to be performed to best diagnose the animal’s problems. It’s not any different from when a person has a medical problem; to be treated correctly, that person must be examined by a medical professional to diagnose the problem and determine a course of treatment.
Seeking Advice from Avian and Exotic Vets
Seeking out advice on-line or from a local store or breeder can be fine for simple issues, but for more serious medical problems, there is nothing like a complete, hands-on physical examination. So, while we love you to email us questions about your pet or ask advice on simple matters on Facebook or other social media sites, we would really be doing you and your pet a disservice if we tried to diagnose your animal’s condition without actually examining him or her. Of course, not everyone is close by enough to the avian and Exotic Veterinary Center to come in for a check-up, so if you are far from us, we encourage you to seek out an exotics-savvy vet in your area to help. There are several great resources on-line that will direct you to vets with training in birds and exotics. Just think, you wouldn’t rely solely on the Internet for diagnosing your own or a family member’s medical condition; why would you for your pet?
So often, at the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics, we hear owners say that their pets could never have parasites because they don’t go outside. Not true. Many pets – mammals, birds, and reptiles – are never outside their families’ homes, yet they carry parasites in their intestinal tracts and can shed these microscopic parasites in their stool. Once the stool dries up in their cages, small bits of dry stool can blow around the environment to be inhaled by other pets or people or get on the hands of caretakers who clean the cage. Many of these parasites are harmful to people, as well as pets. Furthermore, many of these microscopic parasites resist common disinfectants used to clean cages, so they persist in the animals’ environments and continuously re-infect these pets as they eat in their cages; the infected pets continue to shed these infectious parasites in their stool, and the vicious cycle of re-infection is established. Thus, even if your pet shows none of the common signs of gastrointestinal parasite infection, such as diarrhea, weight loss, or an unkempt appearance, he or she may be infected anyway and could spread these parasites to you and your family. This is particularly an issue if young children who forget to wash their hands are handling these animals. Thus, it is essential that all pets are checked for parasites once you first bring them into your home and at least annually after that. Unfortunately, if an animal has intestinal parasites, they are not always continuously shed into its stool. So, a check of a single stool sample may not actually be a true representation of what’s going on in that pet’s intestines. This is particularly true for reptiles that are so often infected with gastrointestinal parasites that we routinely deworm them with general deworming medications even before we get back the results of their fecal analyses. So, even if your mammal, bird, or reptile is seemingly healthy, it is critical that he or she is checked annually for gastrointestinal parasites, both for their health and your health. Even if they are not obviously affected now with these organisms, if these parasites are left untreated, your pet may eventually lose weight and become ill, and worse yet, so could your family. Deworming is safe, easy, and inexpensive. Why wait for a serious problem to happen if you can prevent it now?
If you are an Exotic Pet owner in NY an annual check-up is an essential part of trying to prevent illness from occurring. Just like cats and dogs (and even people), birds and exotic pets should have yearly examinations to try to keep them healthy and to catch any signs of illness early, when treatment is still possible. For some very short-lived exotic pets, such as rats and small birds, check-ups should occur twice a year, as they should for middle-aged ferrets (after age 3-4), older rabbits and guinea pigs (after age 4- 5), and teenage and older middle- and larger sized-birds. These animals all tend to develop common medical conditions as they age, which, if caught early, may be very treatable. Our medical records indicate that we haven’t checked out your special exotic pet in more than a year. So, what are you waiting for?
Call the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotic Pets today at (914) 864-1414, and schedule a wellness visit to keep your pet healthy for as long as possible.