Exotic pets have very specific environmental, nutritional and enrichment needs. Whether you are interested in researching what a new pet may need or if you’re looking to improve your pet’s diet and care, these links offer general guidelines to keep them happy and healthy.
When you bring your pet in for an exam at our clinic, our doctors and technicians can go over any specific questions you may have about the species-specific recommendations to help you best care for your pet.
Many species of birds have very long lifespans. Keeping them happy and healthy for their entire lives requires proper nutrition, husbandry and veterinary care. Annual physical exams are essential for companion birds. This is because most companion bird species are prey animals in the wild, and will hide signs of illness.
Our veterinarians routinely examine and treat many species of small exotic mammals, including rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders.
Basic Care Recommendations
We recommend that all species are fed a nutritionally balanced diet specific to the needs of your pet. Feeding a food formulated for a different species is not recommended. Block or pelleted diets tend to be more nutritionally balanced and don’t allow your pet to pick and chose only the tastiest (and usually more fattening) items. Appropriate habitats are commercially available or can be homemade for many species. When providing homemade habitats, please take into account that some species need vertical space as well as an escape-proof habitat. Bedding choices are also important. Pine and cedar shavings can be toxic to small mammals and should be avoided.
Ferrets are a popular pet in the United States and are very playful and entertaining to watch. Ferrets are carnivores and have specific nutritional needs. They should be kept in an appropriate cage when not supervised, and the environment should be “ferret proofed” before allowing them to roam. They should always be closely supervised since they have a talent for getting into trouble! Most pet ferrets are spayed and neutered before they arrive at pet stores. They are susceptible to canine distemper and rabies and should be vaccinated annually for both. We recommend annual wellness visits to help keep your ferret happy and healthy throughout its life. Adrenal disease is quite common in ferrets and can be treated and well managed if diagnosed early. Ferrets live an average of 6-8 years, and the males tend to be larger than the females. You can expect your pet ferret to sleep for about 16 hours a day and be more active in the mornings and evenings. They have a keen sense of smell and a reputation for being “thieves”.