Preventative Health Care For Your Avian/Exotic


Traditionally, dogs and cats have been brought to veterinarians for regular check-ups, vaccines, fecal testing, heartworm testing, and any other necessary blood work as part of their preventative health care. This prevention is the key to providing the best possible care and more importantly the best life for our pets. Preventative health care has long been adopted as the standard of care for canine and feline companions. This preventative health care is not only the standard for dogs and cats, but is also more recently, the standard of care for our avian and exotic pets.

Avian and exotic animal medicine is an area of veterinary medicine that has evolved immensely over the years. The standards and quality of care that veterinarians can provide to these animals has risen to a new level. Here at Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital our goals are set on achieving if not exceeding that level. The doctors at Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital constantly strive to ensure that all pets receive the best possible health care to ensure long healthy lives. Bringing your avian or exotic pet to a qualified and experienced exotic animal veterinarian is essential to their health care program as well as prevention of disease.

One may ask, "What possible preventative health care can be available for my bird, lizard, rabbit or even my little mouse?" In fact, there are many standard health care programs available for your exotic pet, whether it is a bird, rabbit, ferret or even a turtle, snake, hamster or chinchilla. No matter what exotic pet it is, the doctors at Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital have recommended health care programs to help ensure your pet lives a long healthy life.

Annual to biannual exams of birds, reptiles, small mammals and pocket pets are highly recommended by veterinarians. These exams are intended to evaluate the general physical appearance of your pet to monitor for any abnormalities that can be developing. Veterinarians are knowledgeable to what is normal and abnormal. Physical characteristics such as body weight, heart rate/rhythm, organ structure, and abnormal growths are looked for. Overgrown beaks in birds and reptiles as well as overgrown teeth (incisors and the difficult to see molars) in rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and other rodents are a commonality and often lead to many illnesses in these pets. Beak and teeth trims and remodeling are often a routine for many of these pets.

Fecal checks for parasites, normal and abnormal bacteria and yeast as well proper digestion are part of your avian or exotic pet's yearly check-ups. All too often these pets can be carriers of potentially harmful bacteria or parasites that can make your pet sick. Early detection of these problems is key in the prevention of illnesses. Parasites in reptiles are a commonly seen problem and can often debilitate these pets and make them very sick.

Vaccinations are also available for our exotic pets and are part of their annual visits. Ferrets should be vaccinated yearly for Rabies as well as Distemper. These vaccines are started in baby ferrets and continued life long just as in puppies and kittens. Annual vaccines are also available for birds as well. These vaccines are routinely administered and stocked at Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital.

Heartworm disease is a common ailment found in dogs and cats but can also infect ferrets as well. Dogs and cats are tested for heartworm disease on an annual basis and kept on a monthly preventative to help ensure these pets do not get infected with this disease. The same holds true for ferrets and they should also be placed on a monthly heartworm preventative program.

There are many other recommended tests that are routinely used to make sure your exotic pet is in good health. Some of these tests include blood work that checks general organ function and aid in early detection of disease. More specific testing such as cultures to detect bacteria and more specific testing to detect psittacosis and aspergillosis in birds.

The most important fact to remember is the significance of regular check-ups for your avian and exotic pet to help prevent disease and provide a means of early detection of illnesses. The best type of medicine is preventative medicine. This preventative care for all of your pets is routinely provided by Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital. Whether it is annual check ups, vaccines or testing or the need for a qualified veterinarian in the time of illness, Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital is prepared for all your avian and exotic needs.

By Dr. Christopher Stancel