Most of our "scaly" pets in captivity will benefit from a yearly
exam with the veterinarian. Although there are not any vaccines
that are given, the visit will always start with a thorough physical
exam with a discussion on any weight changes and growth rates. A
complete review of the diet, including any changes in appetite, and
other husbandry issues are important topics to discuss. The needs of
your pet will change as they get older, so a once-a-year visit is a
great place to address these issues. This visit is even more important
in turtles and tortoises that live outdoors and may be hibernating.
Pre- and post-hibernation exams are critical for these animals as they
can be at risk for disease during these stressful times.
Vaccines are not part of the routine healthcare for our rabbits, guinea
pigs, chinchillas, rats, hamsters or other small pets. But annual
doctor examinations are just as important for these pets for many
reasons; for one, they tend to show old-age problems faster than our
larger animal friends. Geriatric
problems and other health issues arise quickly, so veterinary care can
be an integral part of maintaining a healthy pet for as long as
possible. Diets are readily available from most pet and/or feed stores,
but you might be surprised by what is truly healthy as opposed to what
is offered on the shelf! These and other important husbandry issues can
be covered during the yearly physical exam.
Ferrets are fast becoming one of the most popular pets in America,
third only to dogs and cats. They are easy to keep and care for and
have "clown-like" antics that will keep you entertained for hours! They
are strict carnivores
with very specific dietary needs; also, they are the only "exotic" pet
that requires routine vaccines as a kit (a young ferret less than six
months old) and yearly after that. Ferrets are susceptible to some of
the same conditions as cats and dogs, and are prone to certain types of cancer as
they get older. Yearly exams and vaccines (for distemper and rabies),
by a veterinarian familiar with this species, are extremely important
for ferrets. With a lifespan here in the USA of about 7-9 years, a
visit once a year can be critical for ensuring a long, healthy life.
feathered friends, vaccines are not routinely necessary unless they are
in a breeding situation or aviary. If that's the case, then an onsite
exam/visit at least twice a year is the best preventative medicine. But
for our birds that are indoors and truly pets, a yearly trip to the
veterinarian is just as important as it is for our cats and dogs. It is
vital to do a complete exam and discuss issues such as diet, weight
gains (or losses), feather growth and other health issues. In fact,
having your bird weighed on a regular basis is a great way to monitor
changes in health. It is also very important to address behavior
problems as they arise before they get out of control! As our birds get
older and live longer with us, signs of disease can be subtle and easy
to miss. We can discuss doing routine bloodwork, radiographs and other
diagnostic tests as good preventative medicine to insure their health.
Below you will find links to additional, more specific information on exotic pets listed by species.