Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bunnies, Geckos, and Budgies: The Importance of Preventative Care for Exotic Pets by Shann Ikezawa, DVM

The diminutive size of reptiles, birds, and rodents can sometimes be misleading. People often think they will make simple pets, kept in cages or tanks, requiring little time and attention. Each species, however, has specific needs, some quite complex, and the wrong diet and environment can lead to a variety of health problems.

Preventative health care is important in all the pets we see at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, but is it even more essential in our exotic patients. Reptiles have unique requirements for temperature, humidity, light, and diet. Mistakes in their husbandry lead to fractured legs, seizures, infections, and other internal disease. Bird owners often find well meaning advice on diet and behavior is incorrect and lead to obesity and a biting, screaming pet. Rabbits and rodents are often started on inappropriate diets, leading to obesity and dental disease. 

Owners are also often unaware of signs that indicate illness. Exotic pets behave very differently than a dog or cat and tend to hide disease until they are critically ill. A little research and preventative health care go a long way in the care of your exotic pet. Unavoidable medical problems or accidents may occur, but proper husbandry can prevent some of the most common health problems we see in exotic pets. Your veterinarian will help educate and guide you in the proper care of your exotic pet so that they can live a healthy, happy life.

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