Preventive Pet Care
Preventive care is the most important factor in maintaining your pet's health. Please view the links below to learn more about the preventive measures that should routinely be done for your pet.
Preventative Pet Care
All exotic pets should be examined by a veterinarian at least yearly. Some species should be seen even more often, especially those with shorter life spans (small rodents (rats, hamsters) and hedgehogs) or those that hide illnesses particularly well (birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas). An examination gives us the opportunity to evaluate all body systems for any signs of abnormalities. We evaluate body condition and skin/feather quality, look at all areas of the body (including the eyes, ears, nose, oral cavity, and vent), assess the cardiorespiratory system, and feel for any musculoskeletal or abdominal/coelomic abnormalities.
In addition to examinations, there are some routine diagnostic tests which may be recommended for your pet to assess their health.
Fecal testing can include a fecal flotation looking for the larger intestinal parasites, gram stain looking for bacterial and yeast overgrowth, and a wet mount looking for protozoal parasites.
Bloodwork helps us evaluate the internal health of a pet - we recommend a profile consisting of a chemistry panel and a complete blood count (CBC). The chemistry panel allows us to evaluate how organ systems are functioning (liver, kidney) and looks at protein and calcium/phosphorous levels. The complete blood count (CBC) helps us look for anemia, elevations in the white blood cell count or changes in the distribution of white blood cells (which may suggest infection or inflammation). We have the ability to run in house testing of ionized calcium, which tells us the level of circulating active calcium in the blood stream, which may be different from the total calcium level found on the main chemistry panel.
Infectious Disease Testing
Birds: We recommend testing for three major avian diseases that are most commonly seen in the pet trade: Psittacosis (Chlamydia psittaci) - a bacterial infection that can cause disease in people, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Virus - a virus that causes feather abnormalities and immune suppression, and Polyomavirus - a virus that causes severe systemic disease. Our doctors may also recommend testing for Herpesvirus in new world species (such as macaws and amazons) to look for carriers who might eventually develop papillomas. These tests are recommended for all new birds, or for any bird who has had exposure to other birds of unknown status. This panel is generally only done once, unless there is exposure to new birds of unknown disease status.
Reptiles: Your veterinarian may recommend submitting a screening test for your bearded dragon for Atadenovirus, a virus which can lead to immune suppression and liver disease.
Mammals: Your veterinarian may recommend testing your rabbit for Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E. cuniculi), a fungal disease that can cause ocular or neurologic signs.