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!

Attention Rabbit Owners: Release of New Strain of Rabbit Calici-Virus

03/26/2016The Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia is releasing a new strain of Calici virus as part of a national program to reduce numbers of feral rabbits. This will begin from Spring 2016 and then again Autumn 2017.It appears that they are using baits to distribute the virus amongst feral rabbit populations.Calici Virus is a highly infecti...

The Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia is releasing a new strain of Calici virus as part of a national program to reduce numbers of feral rabbits. This will begin from Spring 2016 and then again Autumn 2017.

It appears that they are using baits to distribute the virus amongst feral rabbit populations.

Calici Virus is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that affects both wild and domestic rabbit populations. The incubation period for the virus is between 1 to 3 days, with death following 1 to 2 days after the infection. There is a wide range of symptoms including fever, squeals, and often coma leading to death within 12 to 36 hours. In less severe cases, rabbits may display uneasiness, excitement, anorexia, swollen eyelids, paralysis, ocular haemorrhages, and “paddling”. Convulsions may be seen as well. A bloody discharge from the nose can be seen along with blood-stained cage floors, though these symptoms usually occur after death.

This is a good reminder that the Calici Virus vaccination for our pet rabbits is now a biannual vaccine that is given every 6 months.

“Rabbits need to chew on wood right?” Dispelling owner myths about rabbit dental disease

03/21/2016There are many owner misconceptions and misinformation on the internet about what does or does not help with preventing dental disease in rabbits. Many owners can be quite shocked when they learn the truth!The basics of dental disease always come back to diet. Rabbits require a diet that is at least 80% high quality grass hay (oaten, meadow, or timothy), 5...

There are many owner misconceptions and misinformation on the internet about what does or does not help with preventing dental disease in rabbits. Many owners can be quite shocked when they learn the truth!

The basics of dental disease always come back to diet. Rabbits require a diet that is at least 80% high quality grass hay (oaten, meadow, or timothy), 5% concentrates such as a plain pellet without any muesli or seeds, 5% healthy treats such as apple, banana, or Oxbow Simple Rewards, and 10% fresh green vegetables such as Chinese vegetables, kale, and pot herbs. This comes out to a large double handful of hay a day (about the same size as the rabbit), a head of bok choy or the equivalent in other vegetables, a slice of apple or banana, and a tablespoon of pellets.

The reason why hay is so important is that eating hay produces the lengthy, lateral grinding that is required to keep the crowns of the cheek teeth in correct wear. Chewing on wood blocks or other chew toys that are marketed does not actually improve the wear of cheek teeth. The incisors wear down by contacting each other during biting, and incisor malocclusions are often due to congenital or trauma-related misalignment, reducing or eliminating the natural wear between the maxillary and mandibular incisors.

Rabbits that are not used to eating hay and more used to eating palatable but unhealthy concentrates and muesli can be coerced into eating hay by increasing the palatability of the hay. At home methods include spraying the hay with apple juice or other sweet items as a temporary measure until hay eating becomes a habit, soaking the hay in warm water to increase the moisture content, or mixing dried banana chips or cranberries into the hay to get the rabbit to search through and eat some hay on the way. Oxbow also produces flavored hays that can be a good way to start off a reluctant rabbit.

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