Archives for Snakes

Holiday travel is here: boarding birds and exotic pets when you’re away

It’s holiday time, and you have planned an exotic, or perhaps not so exotic, getaway for you and your family. Tickets are booked, hotel plans are made, then you are stuck with the question – what do I do with my beloved exotic pet? Some owners bring in a pet sitter who will come once or twice a day to visit, feed and clean their pet in their home. While there are benefits to having someone come to your house when you’re away, a lot can happen to your pet during the hours the sitter is not there. Another option is to bring your
pet to the sitter’s house, a pet shop, or a boarding facility. In these places, the pet is then monitored more closely; however, the risk of exposure to potentially infectious disease is greater. Most pet stores and boarding facilities do not require a certificate of health from a veterinarian before pets board, increasing the chances that a sick pet might come in and expose all of the boarders, especially if pets are housed in close quarters as they are in many of these facilities. Unfortunately, we at the Veterinary Center end up treating many pets each year that become ill because of inappropriate care by pet sitters when the owners are away or of exposure to other pets carrying disease at pet stores and boarding facilities.

All boarding pets at the Veterinary Center, however, are required to have blood and stool tests before accepting them into our state of the art boarding facility. Boarding pets at the Center do not have any contact with each other, because all of the cages are separated from each other by solid walls that slide up to the sides of the cages, thereby enabling us to adjust the boarding space to accommodate to the size of the cage the animals are in. By preventing boarders from seeing their neighbors, we further minimize spread of disease-causing germs through the air and lessen the stress each pet feels by not seeing a strange neighbor next door. During their stay, our staff provides care, love, and attention. Cages are changed twice a day, pets get out of their cages to exercise, and we weigh pets daily to ensure they are eating well. While we are happy to feed whatever food you bring in with your pet to help him feel more at home, we try to provide the healthiest diet possible when your pet stays with us. If he hasn’t been on the most nutritious diet at home, with your permission and in the controlled environment of the hospital where we can monitor your pet’s appetite and stool production closely, we use the boarding stay to transition your animal over to a healthier meal plan that you can continue when he goes home. While we see the boarding pets ever day in the hospital, Dr. Hess keeps an eye on them at night, after hours, on her computer screen at home, via closed circuit infrared cameras that even work when the lights in the room are off. Also, when not being entertained by our veterinary technicians, the animals enjoy watching cartoons on the flat screen TV positioned just for them. There are even speakers in the ceiling to provide music if they need some quiet time, and the lights in the room are on a timer to go off at night before bedtime. Best yet, the hospital is alarmed and monitored via motion detectors to ensure your pet is safe, there is a generator in case of a power outage, and Dr. Hess lives just 5 minutes away in case of emergency.

So, while you’re away on vacation, why not let your pet vacation with us? Call the Veterinary Center today to schedule your pet’s stay with us, so that with your little loved one in our care, there is no need to worry the next time you go on a short or long, exotic, or not so exotic holiday.

New thoughts on reptile care

Attention reptile owners! It’s that time of year again – time to check your cage set up – now that the weather is getting cooler and drier. As winter approaches, you should check your tank temperature and humidity to ensure that you don’t need to add a heat source or increase your pet’s misting/soaking, particularly if you live in an area where there are radical temperature changes when winter begins. Having just returned from the Association of Reptile Veterinarians conference, Dr. Hess brought back a host of updated ideas about reptile care, including new thoughts on lighting, heating, and vitamin/mineral supplementation. In fact, she also brought back several brand new products to improve the health of many reptile species. Are you sure you are proving your reptile adequate calcium, vitamin D, and minerals? Is your pet getting adequate ultraviolet light to make enough essential vitamin D in their skin to absorb calium from their food? Even nocturnal species and carnivorous reptiles (who eat a great deal of calcium when they consume the bones of their prey) are now believed to benefit from ultraviolet light. And are you sure you are providing your pet with the proper wavelengths of ultraviolet light? If you haven’t reassessed your reptile care in a while, perhaps it’s time to take to another look. Call the Veterinary Center to find out more.