Exotics and pocket pets might be small, but they are also mighty and they deserve – like humans and more conventional pet companions – the best of care. At North County Animal Hospital, we specialize in exotic pets and small mammals and their unique medical needs. We’re well-versed in the treatment of turtles, rats, iguanas, bearded dragons, chameleons, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils and can advise you on what to feed them, how to house them, and what to do if they get sick.
We recommend an annual wellness exam to be sure your exotic or small pet is healthy, and these exams give us a baseline for future reference in the event your pet ever falls ill. Annual exams also give you time with our veterinarians so we can answer all your health, behavior, environment, and nutrition questions.
Bringing Your Small Pet to the Vet
We recognize that coming to the vet can be a stressful experience for any pet, particularly our small ones. Our staff and doctors are very sensitive to this fact and do whatever we can to limit this stress.
Your pet may be more relaxed if brought in its regular enclosure if possible. It is also best not to clean the enclosure prior to bringing your pet in. This will allow your pet to be surrounded by familiar, comfortable smells, and will also retain samples for diagnostic testing if needed to better evaluate your pet. During an exotic and small mammal wellness exam, our veterinarian may recommend the following:
· Complete physical examination, including oral exam
· Weight checks
· Fecal exam
· Vaccinations if needed
· Parasite prevention if needed
· Heartworm testing and prevention (ferrets)
· Dental Care and Cleaning (rabbits, ferrets)
· In-house pharmacy with medications and supplements
· Nutritional counseling tailored to the needs of your pet
· Behavioral counseling
· Environmental enrichment counseling
How to Tell When Your Exotic or Small Pet is Sick
The best treatment for any illness is catching it early through annual wellness exams before your pet is showing signs of illness. Reptiles and small mammals survive in the wild by hiding injury and illness. Unfortunately, this means that when they show signs of illness it is often advanced and more difficult to cure. You should bring your pet in to see us if you notice any of the following symptoms:
· Decreased activity
· Decreased appetite or stops eating
· Head tilts to the side or is upside down
· Weight loss
· Changes in stool or urine production or appearance
· Ocular or nasal discharge
· Shedding problems
· Any sign of blood on the animal or in its enclosure
· Muscle twitching, weakness
· Witnessed or suspected injuries
If you have questions about caring for your exotic or small pet or want to make an appointment, give us a call at (360) 887-1838. We’ll make sure your little one is properly cared for!