Raintree Animal Hospital

Exotic Pet Care

Small Mammal History Sheet
Reptile History Sheet

Ferrets

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Ferrets are very curious creatures who love to explore their surroundings. Because of this, it is important to make sure you "ferret-proof" a room in which small objects (especially rubber) are out of reach.

One of the most common ailments of young ferrets is ingestion of a non-edible material that can lodge in the intestinal tract. This leads to intestinal blockage, preventing the passage of food material through the digestive tract. Without medical and even surgical intervention, this can lead to fatal consequences.

Make sure your ferret is housed in a large cage, which will provide exercise and entertainment. Most ferrets can be litter box-trained, so provide a large litter box that is changed daily. Ferrets will learn to drink from a hanging bottle, and will benefit from a diet of high-quality ferret food with a little premium kitten food mixed in.

Ferrets often come neutered and "de-scented" when purchased from a pet store. Even though they have had their musk glands removed, a ferret will still produce a musky odor that can be controlled with bathing and diet.

Ferrets can be housed in pairs or more, but take extreme care when introducing them to other household pets, especially dogs. Also, take precaution to teach young children responsibility and to respect the ferret. Ferrets can live for upwards of 10-12 years, but many succumb to cancer.

Ferret Health

As with other animals, it is important to have annual exams and blood work performed for the detection and prevention of disease. Many ferrets develop dental disease and benefit from professional dental cleanings. Dental disease can lead to infections of important organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Young ferrets can suffer from G.I. disease, resulting in intestinal blockage from ingested material. They can also develop diarrhea problems from bacteria, viruses, and immune disease. There is also a form of cancer that can affect juveniles.

Older ferrets are subject to cancer, including adrenal cancer, marked by hair loss on the tail and sides of the body. Ferrets can also develop other forms of cancer, such as lymphoma and chordoma (a mass found on the tail). Heart disease is also known to be a common problem in ferrets. A complete health exam, including blood work and X-rays, can help uncover these problems.

Ferret Exam

A complete physical exam is essential for the detection and treatment of disease. A thorough exam from nose to tail is performed, with special attention to dental health. Like other animals and human beings, ferrets can develop dental disease and gingivitis. Raintree offers complete dental care for ferrets including dental cleaning packages. Clean teeth prevents the seeding of bacteria into the bloodstream. Dental disease can lead to other organ problems, shedding oral bacteria to infect the heart, liver, lungs, and kidney. In addition to the physical exam, other diagnostic tests are offered to gain a complete health picture. Stool analysis looks for intestinal parasites, while complete blood work gives additional information on the health of internal organs. Preventive care also embodies yearly vaccinations for distemper and rabies. A good physical exam, with the aid of diagnostic tests, will ensure early intervention in the disease process. We strive to make your ferret's exam as stress free as possible, with the best in gentle care. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for your special little "bandit!"

Guinea Pigs

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Guinea pigs are fun little creatures who will give you lots of love!

Proper housing, medical care, and diet will ensure that your guinea pig lives many long years. Provide a home that will give your guinea pig enough room to exercise, and one that can be easily cleaned. Make sure that there is some solid flooring to prevent foot disease.

A guinea pig diet should consist mostly of long stem Timothy hay, with only about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of alfalfa pellets daily. Fresh greens and veggies can also be offered. Stay clear of spinach and Swiss chard. Never give your guinea pig fatty foods, or chocolate.

Guinea pigs require daily supplementation of Vitamin C. The best way to supply this is by a 1/4 of a fresh orange or green bell pepper daily. Supplements are sold to go into the water, but it is questionable whether the vitamin remains stable, and the water should be changed daily. A 50mg dose of a vitamin C tablet can be crushed and placed in the food.

Don't place your guinea pig in a drafty area and keep indoors.

Annual exams are important to ensure good health. Guinea pigs are prone to parasites, tumors, and dental disease. A guinea pig can be neutered and that may help to prevent some reproductive tumors. Raintree Animal Hospital has a special interest in guinea pig neutering.

Some people consider breeding guinea pigs, but care should be taken as they have narrow pelvises and can have birthing complications. Call our office today to schedule a complete health exam for your furry friend!

Rabbits

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Rabbits make wonderful pets.

They have special nutritional and housing needs. Much of the disease seen in domesticated rabbits is related to poor nutrition. Most people feed their rabbits commercial rabbit pellets and little to no hay. This type of feeding can lead to G.I. problems, known as Ileus, or a slowing/halting of the movement of the G.I. tract. This results in the obstruction of food and hair in the stomach or intestinal tract.

Rabbits should be fed a high quality Timothy hay free choice with only 1/4-1/2 cup of commercial pellets daily. Alfalfa hay should be used with caution and reserved for juveniles. Alfalfa can lead to calcium stones in the bladder. Fruit should be limited to no more than one tablespoon daily. Certain greens like Swiss Chard and Spinach should be avoided.

Fresh water should also be provided daily.

Poor diets, lacking hard materials for chewing, can lead to dental disease. Rabbit teeth continuously grow, and care should be taken to avoid over-growth. Physical exams and tooth trimming can help maintain a normal mouth and prevent medical problems.

Full dental exams are important and are provided during the physical exam. It is not advised to house a rabbit outdoors, as the Colorado climate is not bunny friendly. In the warmer months, rabbits are prone to fly strike and may become subject to maggot infestation.

Care should be taken when choosing bedding for your rabbit. Aromatic wood chips like pine and cedar can lead to respiratory problems. Also, some solid flooring should be provided to prevent foot injury on grate only surfaces.

Lizards

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Raintree Animal Hospital treats reptiles. We would be more than happy to see you and your pet for a thorough consultation regarding husbandry, diet, health, and medical conditions or concerns. Please call us at 970-482-1987 to schedule an appointment.

Snakes

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Raintree Animal Hospital treats reptiles. We would be more than happy to see you and your pet for a thorough consultation regarding husbandry, diet, health, and medical conditions or concerns.

Please call us at 970-482-1987 to schedule an appointment.