Pet Insurance for Exotic Pets

08/29/2016Get peace of mind for you and your special pet Are you considering insurance for your exotic pet?Most of us approach the idea of insurance with caution. Often we view it as an unnecessary expense, a luxury, or perhaps just another money-making scam. But this is not true. It often seems unfair to pour month upon month of hard-earned money into insurance an...

Get peace of mind for you and your special pet

Are you considering insurance for your exotic pet?

Most of us approach the idea of insurance with caution. Often we view it as an unnecessary expense, a luxury, or perhaps just another money-making scam. But this is not true. It often seems unfair to pour month upon month of hard-earned money into insurance and in many cases never see the fruits of paying these premiums. Well, we suggest you put the monologue of insurance’s great injustices on hold, if only for a moment, and spare a thought for your special pet.

Pet insurance is a real thing. In fact, it has witnessed some impressive growth of late. If you have a cat, a dog or even a horse, there are a multitude of insurance policies available; your only challenge will be choosing the one that best suits your needs. Up until recently we haven’t had any pet insurance for the pets we see available in Australia, however as of October 2018 a company called Pet Cover has started to offer an exotic pet insurance. More information can be found on their website: https://www.petcover.com.au/policies/exotics-insurance

It’s a great option,  however not everything is covered so please read the policy documents carefully before signing up to make sure you get the benefits your pet needs.

If you still don’t like the idea of insurance then another option is to keep an emergency fund for your pet. A guide to this is outlined below.

The principle is much the same as having actual insurance; the only difference is that instead of relying on a third party to provide the funds for medical attention and treatment, the pool of money will be kept and managed by you.

The emergency fund will be available in the event that you are unable to cover ongoing illnesses, pay for surgery when it is needed, or get the necessary treatment when an accident takes place.

How to do it

First and foremost, under your mattress is not the best place to keep your pet’s emergency fund. The best way to go about it is to set up a specific bank account that is separate from your spending account. This will help you avoid dipping into the funds and depleting your insurance fund. Once you have opened the account, you will have the option of how you would like funds to be deposited:

Benefits

It’s impossible to put a price tag on peace of mind, but it’s a great investment to avoid grief. The best way to deal with the unexpected is to prepare for it. Consider starting an emergency fund for your pet today – the earlier you start the better

We specialise in the expert care of exotic pets. If you have any concerns that are exotic pet related, we are the go-to service for professional advice, treatment and relief. Contact us today.

What is the difference between us and a local dog and cat vet?

07/01/2016If you own a reptile, rabbit, bird, guinea pig, ferret, rat, frog or other exotic pet you need to provide as much care as you would for a dog or a cat. However, one of the key differences is that your average dog and cat vet won’t be able to offer the best treatment for your unusual pet.Instead, you need to see a vet with a specialised interest in your p...specialist exotic pet vets

If you own a reptile, rabbit, bird, guinea pig, ferret, rat, frog or other exotic pet you need to provide as much care as you would for a dog or a cat. However, one of the key differences is that your average dog and cat vet won’t be able to offer the best treatment for your unusual pet.

Instead, you need to see a vet with a specialised interest in your particular pet. So, what are the key differences between a regular dog and cat vet and an exotic animal vet? Let us explore.

Treating the species

Traditional veterinary medicine taught at university mainly focuses on five species – generally dogs, cats, sheep, cattle and horses. Exotic animal veterinarians must be knowledgeable about the biology, nutrition and behaviour of hundreds of species. They also need to be proficient in their care, maintenance, medical needs and surgical procedures. It is true that the general approach that vets use to treat domestic species can be used when examining exotic animals, however, the physical examination techniques need to be tailored. An exotic animal, say a guinea pig, has a unique anatomy and physiology to that of a dog or cat. For example, examining their cheek (back) teeth is very important. Without specialised tools, this is difficult (if not impossible) to do.

Examining and treating exotic animals also requires both a firm understanding of disease processes and the ability to apply that knowledge in practice, and solve problems in a rational manner. Each exotic animal is unique and therefore, preventative care and treatment will be different.

Be mindful of their behaviour

In traditional veterinary medicine, animals such as dogs and cats are generally used to new people and are happy to be examined. Many of our patients are not used to being out of their home environment and get very stressed at the vet. For this reason, an exotics veterinarian needs to be able to know how to minimise this stress.

Why choose the Unusual Pet Vets?

With us, your exotic animal can live a happy and healthy lifestyle. We have the following services:

These can help to ensure that your pet is being kept correctly and discuss any husbandry and dietary questions that you may have. It also allows us to pick up any early signs of illness.

All exotic pets can escape, however, birds, ferrets and some reptiles are expert escape artists.  Microchipping your pet allows them to be tracked down if they escape and are handed into a veterinary clinic. Believe it or not, we see many stray rabbits, guinea pigs and rats so it is important to microchip these species as well.

We use the latest technology and surgical equipment to ensure your pet gets the best care possible. Our instruments and anaesthetic equipment are tailored to the small size of your pet.

We use the very latest technology to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with your pet through x-rays, blood tests and advanced imaging modalities such as ultrasound and CT.

Keeping unusual and exotic pets is exciting, but can be very challenging due to a lot of misinformation. Whether it’s the type of food you should feed your bird, or how to handle your ferret, we take a genuine care in ensuring that all our pet patients receive top-of-the-line service.

We have a qualified team with a wealth of experience, particularly with bird vet services, reptiles, rabbits and rodents. With our state-of-the-art clinics, your pet will be provided with the best treatment and care.

Wing Clipping

04/29/2016Before clipping your birds wings we recommend that you think about the reasons that you are clipping them and what you are hoping to achieve. The reason for this is because once clipped it can take a long time for new feathers to come through and for your bird to be able to fly again. The other thing to consider is the type of environment that your bird lives ...

Before clipping your birds wings we recommend that you think about the reasons that you are clipping them and what you are hoping to achieve. The reason for this is because once clipped it can take a long time for new feathers to come through and for your bird to be able to fly again. The other thing to consider is the type of environment that your bird lives in – you should ask yourself how your bird will manage if it can’t fly and consider if it will negatively affect your bird.

Once you have made the decision to clip your birds wings we recommend that you get someone with competency in the task to show you how to do it until you become comfortable with the procedure. The main reason for this is that we see birds whose wings have been cut too short on a regular basis by those inexperienced. If the wings are cut too short your bird will then have problems with ‘crash landings’ which can cause severe injuries in some cases, some of which need to be surgically repaired.

The aim of clipping your birds wings should always be to clip as little feathers as possible. We start by cutting the outer two primary flight feathers on both wings at the level where they reach the covert feathers. We then test flight by gently dropping the bird in an enclosed room from a short height. If they are able to gently fly down to the ground without getting any lift then you have achieved your goal. If your bird is able to gain a considerable amount of upwards lift then more feathers need to be clipped. This is then done by working from the outside inwards towards the body and taking one feather off at a time from both sides. After each additional feather is cut from both sides flight is then tested again.

Never cut a growing ‘blood’ feather and ensure that your bird is adequately and safely restrained so as not to stress your bird out too much. For any questions please contact us.

Bladder Stones, Sludge and Grit in Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

04/29/2016Bladder problems involving stones, sludge and grit develop when there is a collection of excess calcium which build up in the urinary tract. It is actually quite common in rabbits and guinea pigs as they excrete all their excess calcium that is not required by the body through their urine. Sludge (calcium crystals) has a tooth paste consistency and is often di...

Bladder problems involving stones, sludge and grit develop when there is a collection of excess calcium which build up in the urinary tract. It is actually quite common in rabbits and guinea pigs as they excrete all their excess calcium that is not required by the body through their urine. Sludge (calcium crystals) has a tooth paste consistency and is often difficult to remove completely with normal urination. Often we see the sludge settling at the bottom of the bladder with normal urine on top. It is often only in the last part of urination that we see this gritty grey paste. Bladder sludge can potentially lead to stone formation. Stones and sludge are a painful condition and need to be treated by a vet.

Along with other contributing factors one of the main reasons for bladder sludge is a diet high in calcium. Below is a small list of fruits and vegetables that are higher and lower in calcium. Feeding a variety of fresh foods daily from the list is advisable, but try to avoid feeding foods from only one end of the scale. If you would like the complete list of foods then please send us an email on vets@ and we can forward the list on to you.

5 Highest Vegetables5 Highest Fruits
210 mg — Spinach, Mustard49 mg — Raisins
190 mg — Turnip Greens40 mg — Orange
187 mg — Dandelion Greens33 mg — Lime
138 mg — Parsley32 mg — Blackberries
135 mg — Kale26 mg — Kiwi
5 Lowest Vegetables5 Lowest Fruits
2 mg— Corn4 mg—Plum
5 mg— Tomato5 mg—Peach
9 mg – Green Capsicum5 mg—Nectarine
9 mg— Red Capsicum5 mg—Casaba Melon
14 mg— Cucumber6 mg—Blueberries

Chronic Egg Laying in Birds

04/29/2016Chronic Egg-laying is when your bird lays eggs more often than they should. Excessive egg laying can also accompany certain disease processes. Chronic egg laying is due to an inappropriately high reproductive drive. There are several factors that can increase your bird’s reproductive driveGenetics—some birds are innately predisposed to laying too many...

Chronic Egg-laying is when your bird lays eggs more often than they should. Excessive egg laying can also accompany certain disease processes. Chronic egg laying is due to an inappropriately high reproductive drive. There are several factors that can increase your bird’s reproductive drive

What are some symptoms besides egg laying?

The signs of chronic egg laying can vary according to the cause. The most common accompanying signs you will see is lethargy or reduced activity around the cage. Birds may also become more aggressive and territorial, and may favour one family member and be aggressive to all others. Some birds may become egg-bound, which occurs when they are not able to pass an egg due to inappropriate nutrition, large size of the egg, or poor muscular tone. If so, they may become inappetant, fluffed up, and may strain intermittently or continuously. If you suspect your bird is suffering from egg-binding, this is a condition that must be dealt with as soon as possible.

What kind of birds are most prone?

Any species of bird can suffer from chronic egg-laying; however it seems that Cockatiels, Lorikeets, Eclectus and Chickens are most prone.

What testing can we do?

There is no specific test for chronic egg-laying, and the diagnosis is based on history, physical exam and sometimes organ function testing. Your vet may recommend bloodwork to ensure that your bird is otherwise well, and also x-rays to evaluate the reproductive tract and bone density. From there we may recommend more specific treatments.

What kind of treatments are available?

Treatment will be determined by the cause. If the cause is an over stimulated reproductive drive the vet will discuss husbandry and medical treatments with you. The most common and most frequently used medical treatment is hormone based. Hormonal injections or implants can be used. This works by switching off the hormones which drives the reproductive cycles. Surgical sterilization may also be warranted. We will discuss whether this option is appropriate for your bird during the consultation.

What can I do at home?

There are lots of husbandry factors that we can address that will improve your bird’s condition at home. These include adjusting the diet—an all-seed diet is low in calcium and protein which are the main constituents of eggs. Your attending vet will discuss a diet appropriate for your bird species, light exposure – Most commonly we recommend following the natural daylight lengths, removing nest boxes and nesting material and confining contact to the neck and head only.

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