Why Special Species Of Exotic Pets Require Specialized Veterinary Care

In human medicine, special medical problems typically require specialized medical care. For example, if you have a broken bone, you see an orthopedist who specializes in the care of broken bones. If you have an eye problem, you seek the care of an ophthalmologist who specializes in the care of eyes. If you have a skin problem, you look for help from a dermatologist who specializes in the care of skin. So, logically, if you
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Getting An Exotic Pet

By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice) Birds can make great pets in the right situations. However, unlike pet cats and dogs who often enjoy the company of other animals, not all birds welcome other birds into their environments once they have been established there for a while. Some species of birds do well living in flocks, while others prefer to remain as solo birds in homes. Here are some things to keep in
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Holiday Hazards In Exotic Pets

By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice) Like human infants, rabbits are very oral creatures; they like to put everything in their mouths to check things out. Unfortunately, also like babies, they put inappropriate, and sometimes dangerous, things in their mouths that can potentially injure or even kill them. That is why rabbit owners are advised to “bunny-proof” their houses even before they bring a rabbit home. One of the very inappropriate objects that
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Common Health Hazards and Toxins for Small Mammals

When people hear about commonly kept small mammal pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, ferrets, rats, hamsters and gerbils, they don’t usually think of them being at high risk for getting into trouble in the home. However, if you own one of these pets, there are certain home hazards you should be aware of. These little creatures are clever, curious and very capable of getting into things that they shouldn’t. 1. Electric cords
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Think You Know Ferrets? Take Our Quiz

Some people have preconceived ideas about ferrets, many of which simply are not true — or at least not the whole truth. If you have ever thought about sharing your space with a ferret, take this quiz to learn some interesting facts about this furry fellow. Take Our Ferret Quiz 1. True or false: Ferrets are not very smart. False. Quite the opposite is true — ferrets are highly intelligent animals. They can learn surprisingly
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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 5 Turtles

Which species of exotic pets tend to pack on the pounds? This week, we’re looking at the top five species I treat for obesity. So far we’ve covered parrots, hedgehogs, rabbits and rats. What’s No. 5 on my list of obesity-prone pets? Turtles! When turtles want to hide, they pull their heads and limbs into their shells and look effectively like paperweights. Yet overweight turtles may get locked out of their shell homes. This is
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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 3 Rabbits

Which species of exotic pets tend to pack on the pounds? This week, we’re looking at the top five species I treat for obesity. No. 3 on my list of obesity-prone pets are bunnies! Dangle a carrot in front of a rabbit, and that bunny should hop. But if he is overweight, as are many of the pet rabbits I see in my practice, then he might not be able to. Just as in people,
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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 4 Rats

Which species of exotic pets tend to pack on the pounds? This week, we’re looking at the top five species I treat for obesity. No. 4 on my list of obesity-prone pets are rats! Rats are known for their ability to squeeze through small spaces and get into everything. It’s amazing the narrow cracks and crevices that lithe little rats manage to get through. Yet, many pet rats sadly can’t accomplish this trick, because they are
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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 2 Hedgehogs

Species of all kinds suffer from being fat, and as an exotic animal veterinarian, I constantly tell my patients’ owners to increase their pets’ exercise and limit their junk food consumption. This week, we’re taking a look at the top five species I treat for obesity in an effort to get everyone off to a healthier start in the New Year. No. 2 on my list for the battle of bulge are hedgehogs! Although hedgehogs
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10 Everyday Items That Are Toxic to Birds

Birds can be like toddlers: They are both very oral and like to check things out by putting them in their mouths. Just like children, when pet birds are out unsupervised, this habit of tasting things can get them into trouble. As an avian veterinarian, I treat birds every week for getting into toxic substances. Though some foods and objects are clearly potentially toxic to birds, there are others that might not be so obvious.
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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 1 Parrots

Does Polly want a cracker? Maybe. But should Polly have a cracker? The answer is no. Polly, like many pet birds and other types of exotic pets, is prone to obesity. With little exercise and too much time to sit around and eat out of boredom, too many captive animals become overweight. With the extra pounds, these animals, like overweight people, can develop numerous health problems. The battle against the bulge has become the litany
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The Animal Kingdom’s Hardest Working Dads

As we’re celebrating our own dads this Father’s Day weekend, don’t forget that there are plenty of patriarchs in the animal kingdom who deserve to be celebrated, too. Of course, there are some species in the animal world where the fathers do the fertilization duties and are never seen again — but you may be pleasantly surprised by how hands-on certain male animals are when it comes to caring for their young. Tending the Nest
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