Exotic Pet Care from Rabbit, Reptile, & Avian Vets
At Westfield Veterinary Group, our veterinarians have the experience to provide advanced care to more than just dogs and cats. Some the pets we also see include rabbits, ferrets, birds, pocket pets such as hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice and rats, and reptiles, including snakes. Each of these species requires a very specific kind of healthcare and we have the skills to provide them just that.
Services for Exotic Pets
Our services for exotic pets are similar to those for cats and dogs, but cater to the unique needs of your individual pets. One of the most important services for exotic pets is wellness care. Many exotic pets are prey animals, and so have a very keen instinct to hide any sign of illness or injury. In the wild, this would have helped them survive; however, in the safety of your home, it just makes it harder for you to notice any change! Annual wellness exams allow us to catch subtle signs of illness so we can treat your pet before it gets worse.
Services we offer include:
- Wellness exams
- Beak, nail, and wing trims for birds
- Diagnostics (fecal exams, bloodwork, X-rays, etc.)
- Surgery (spays and neuters, tumor removals, etc.)
- Vaccines (for certain species like ferrets)
- And more
Paying Particular Attention to Husbandry
The husbandry needs of exotic pets are widely varied depending on species, and many require very specific care in order to remain happy and healthy. Improper husbandry is one of the main causes of illness in exotic pets, which is why we emphasize it! Our rabbit, reptile, and avian vets will be able to help address any concerns you have and give you suggestions for home care.
Some of the aspects of husbandry we cover include:
The habitat for your exotic pet should match as closely as possible to their natural habitat in the wild. Reptiles and amphibians all require UVB lighting and a temperature gradient to regulate their heat, while many small mammals and birds simply need a temperature-controlled environment with plenty of ventilation. Other things to consider include toys and other forms of mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored.
Nutrition for exotics should also match their wild diet, but this can be difficult if your pet comes from a different part of the world than where you live. Luckily, there are pelleted diets for many birds and small mammals that meet all your pet’s nutritional needs. Many reptiles are herbivores (who eat dark leafy greens and vegetables) or omnivores (who eat insects and small animals in addition to vegetation), but some, such as snakes are strictly carnivores.
Looking at your pet’s natural environment is a great way to determine if your pet would prefer a solitary or social life. Birds, for example, are flock animals, and do much better with a friend or two. Reptiles on the other hand are mostly solitary and would much prefer to have their own enclosure.
Due to their wilder natures, exotic pets require different handling than cats and dogs. While many rabbits, ferrets, small mammals, and birds are quite used to human touch; others, such as snakes and chameleons, are not adapted to it. When handling reptiles, it’s best to work slowly, support their full body weight, and not allow more than one or two other people around them. Too much interaction could cause undue stress and your pet may even lash out.
Talk to our rabbit, avian or reptile vet today about exotic pet care and how you can improve your pet’s quality of life and keep them with you for longer!