March 18, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Five Reasons That Exotic Pets Need Trips To The Vet

Lacy Gilmer - DVM - Calvert Veterinary Center
Lacy Gilmer - DVM - Calvert Veterinary Center's picture
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October 19, 2017

“I’ve had my bird for 25 years and she’s never been sick - why should I take her to the vet when she looks perfectly healthy?” The answer is that all pets, regardless of species, should be seen for regular medical care, just like people. The goal in treating all species is prevention, so getting your new guinea pig, parrot or bearded dragon a physical exam from a veterinarian trained in these species is essential to set them up for success and a healthy life, before they are sick. Below are five reasons you should schedule a checkup for your exotic pet today.

Husbandry. What does that mean? Husbandry is how to take care of an animal, including its housing, nutrition, training and other factors. Each species has specific and unique needs, and failure to meet these will lead to disease. In fact, 90 percent of the problems we see with exotic animals are due to one or more of their needs not being met. Pet stores often have outdated or minimal information. Your comprehensive physical exam and consultation with your exotics vet will explain all of these needs and help you provide the best care for your exotic companion.

Nutrition. This is probably the hardest aspect of maintaining a healthy exotic animal as a companion. Mimicking their normal diet in the wild is often complex and difficult. There have been numerous advances in exotic animal nutrition and more are happening all the time. Veterinarians work hard to stay on top of all the latest research to ensure they are getting your feathery, furry or scaly friend all the updated recommendations to ensure your pet has the foundation for good health.

Preventative Care. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care, and that saying holds true in the veterinary world. Most animals are good at hiding signs of illness, and when they show signs, it’s often too late to help them. It is healthier and safer for your pet (not to mention cheaper on your pocketbook) to prevent problems rather than treating them. Some exotic pets, like ferrets and pot-bellied pigs, need yearly vaccines, and screening blood work can detect problems before they are obvious.

Zoonotic Concerns. Several diseases can pass between people and pets. This is called a zoonotic risk. Yearly fecal tests can detect and treat potentially zoonotic parasites. Many birds can harbor psittacosis, which can cause deadly pneumonia and respiratory infections in people, especially those with compromised immune systems. Your vet will know the best ways to test and treat your animal.

Grooming. Regular nail trims make handling your pet more comfortable, and help prevent snagging of sharp nails, which can cause injury and sometimes infection. Most animals require nail trims every few months. Wing trims may be appropriate depending on your household and your bird’s behavior. Regular grooming can help prevent injury or accidental escape outside.

Let Calvert Veterinary Center help you care for your exotic pets by using the latest tools in preventative and diagnostic care. All new exotic pet patients during October will receive 10 percent off their wellness exams! Call Calvert Veterinary Center today at 410-360-7297 to schedule an appointment.

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