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.

5 Rules to Keeping Exotic Pets

04/29/2016The exotic requirements of owning unusual pets Dangerous, wild, and exotic pets could pose a danger to the local population, which is why they are classified under different laws, compared to regular domesticated pets such as dogs, cats, and goldfish. Owning even a dog is a huge responsibility so if you are going to keep an exotic animal at home, you need to ...

The exotic requirements of owning unusual pets

Dangerous, wild, and exotic pets could pose a danger to the local population, which is why they are classified under different laws, compared to regular domesticated pets such as dogs, cats, and goldfish. Owning even a dog is a huge responsibility so if you are going to keep an exotic animal at home, you need to at least educate yourself on their habitat requirements and distinctive tendencies.

There are a few basic rules to keeping a wildly hunted reptile in your living room. And, just for the record, not all pets are easier than babies, just so you know. Here are a few things to consider as you dive into caring for your out-of-the-ordinary pet:

Animal history

You may have disliked history at school, but this time, it can help you. Exotic animals have detailed backgrounds, dating back hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. This information will inform you of their biological makeup, how they adapt to new environments, what they eat, how they interact with one another and other species, and their seasonal afflictions. History has its place and that is to presently advise you of the best way to treat and look after your unusual pet.

Diet & care

Once you’ve done your historical search, you will need to know how to provide the exact conditions they require to live and thrive, what they need to eat and where to get food from. Some people impulsively buy exotic animals with very little thought given to researching their maintenance. Try to get in touch with others who keep the same species, so you have a support network to draw from.

Unusual Pet Vets are also a great source of information to understanding your pet’s living conditions, dietary requirements, and unusual pet care, etc. If you are unable to provide for an exotic animal on a long-term basis, you should consider finding a more manageable animal to adopt.

Be there

Keeping an exotic pet is not a hobby. These are living, breathing creatures who have been taken out of their natural environments, so they require a great deal of care and understanding, which means you need to give up some of your Saturday nights to stay in and keep an eye on it. Keeping an exotic animal alive is one thing, but allowing it to live is an entirely different scenario.

Are you able to enrich its environments? Will you regularly be home to monitor elements such as temperature control and lighting? Are you considering animal husbandry? If so, you need to educate yourself on the practise required for breeding and the science behind your species. Are you prepared for an expanding brood of exotics, and the time you need to spend looking after them?

Create atmosphere

It’s a bit disconcerting how little many exotic pet owners know about the right conditions for their animals. A basic part of owning exotic pets is to know the types of conditions they are acclimated to, and how best to achieve it. Temperature plays a big part in their biology such as their metabolism. Speak to the professionals and find out exactly what your species needs.

Does it like warm or cool environments? Will too much heat cause it to dehydrate? What is the perfect temperature for the skin and metabolism to ensure a space for physiological, mental and breeding health?

If you have reptiles, throwing a box together with a light bulb, won’t do the trick. There are many different types of equipment out there, designed to produce the conditions you need, which all depends on the animals you are keeping.

For indoor species you may need thermostats, humidifiers, ventilation, digital hygrometers and much more, to ensure it stays alive and happy. If your animal is staying outside, ensure there is sufficient shade from the sun, and a cooling off area so it can moderate body temperature.

Animal health care

Do you know what your exotic pet needs to maintain its health? Does it require regular hydration or can it go for a few days without water? Does it require more of one mineral than another to ensure its skin or fur does not deteriorate? What kind of viruses and bacteria is it susceptible to and how can you protect the pet? Even if you know all of these important pieces of info, it’s essential to have a professional care expert on hand to consult with.

Keep the number of Unusual Pet Vets on hand. Not many animal doctors can deal with the physical and physiological conditions associated with tropical and exotic species. Veterinary clinics for these animals are fully equipped with skilled vets and the tools required to treat exotics.

Taking your animal for regular check-ups shouldn’t be any problem if you have adhered to the exotic animal ownership requirements.

Exotic and unusual pets are amazing creatures with different nuances that make them fascinating. Keep them happy with the right conditions and exotic animal care information.

Ferret Foreign Bodies

04/12/2016Ferrets make wonderful pets, they are full of life and each have their own unique personality. One thing that is common to almost all ferrets is there inquisitive and playful nature. We love them for this, however, in some cases it can lead to problems. This is particularly the case when they eat something they shouldn’t have! Today’s story looks...
Ferrets make wonderful pets, they are full of life and each have their own unique personality. One thing that is common to almost all ferrets is there inquisitive and playful nature. We love them for this, however, in some cases it can lead to problems. This is particularly the case when they eat something they shouldn’t have! Today’s story looks at mischievous ferrets doing exactly that, how we diagnose it and the treatment options.
What are some of the most common abnormal things you have seen ferrets eat?
Ferrets seem to love rubber and plastic items! The most common things that we remove from ferret’s stomachs or intestines seem to almost always have a rubber or plastic component to them. We have removed ear plugs, magnets, rubber snakes, foam from cushions, chair stoppers and hair balls, however, they can eat just about anything!
What symptoms do they normally show?
If a dog or cat gets something stuck in their stomach they will normally start vomiting profusely. A common misconception is that ferrets will always do the same. We find that in some cases they might vomit once or twice, however, the most common symptoms are actually inappetance (not eating), abdominal pain and lethargy. Some ferrets will drool a lot or start clenching and grinding their teeth. We do get the occasional ferret that will continue to vomit continuously. Every ferret reacts differently and the signs that they show also depend on were the foreign object is lodged.
How do you diagnose that they have eaten something‘foreign’?
We start by giving the ferret a thorough clinical examination. If they are showing some of the symptoms of foreign body ingestion then radiographs (x-rays) or an ultrasound may be recommended. This allows us to see if and where a foreign object may be lodged.
What treatment options are available?
The treatment options depend greatly on what the fe rret has eaten. If it is something very small or something that the body can break down then some ferrets can be managed with supportive care, this may include intravenous fluid therapy (a drip), pain relief, anti-nausea medication and/or support feeding. If a reasonably sized object is ingested or it looks as though the object ingested is causing an obstruction then surgery is generally indicated. This generally involves an exploratory laparotomy to locate the fo reign body then either a gastrotomy (surgically entering the stomach) or an enterotomy (surgically entering the intestine) to retrieve the foreign object.
Do they normally survive?
If the object can be removed or passed successfully then most ferrets make a full recovery. On occasion the intestine can become very damaged or even rupture, in these cases the chance of the ferret making a full recovery are worsened.
What can I do to prevent my ferret eating foreign objects?
The best way is to be vigilant about what you allow your ferret access to. This can be achieved by ensuring you are supervising them if they are allowed to freely roam the house, and also ensuring that you are not leaving small chewable objects around. What should I do if I think my ferret has eaten something they shouldn’t have?
If you are concerned that your ferret may have eaten something they weren’t meant to or they are showing any of the signs listed above then we recommend getting them seen as soon as possible by a ferret savvy vet!

PET OF THE MONTH – April 2016

04/01/2016This is ELLA. A female dwarf lop rabbit. We saw Ella recently with a broken hind leg. She had surgery to amputate that leg and is now doing great at home!

This is ELLA. A female dwarf lop rabbit. We saw Ella recently with a broken hind leg. She had surgery to amputate that leg and is now doing great at home!

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