Exotic pets have specific needs and need specialized care throughout their lives. Our veterinarians are trained to provide veterinary care to several types of exotic pets, including rabbits, rodents, reptiles, and ferrets. Just as with dogs and cats, exotic pets should be seen by a veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness exam to be sure they are healthy and so any problems can be detected early.
Riverstone Animal Hospital offers medical and surgical services for exotic pets. We also provide counseling for general care, nutrition, and behavior, as proper husbandry and nutrition are extremely important to the well-being of exotic pets. We consider the unique characteristics of every pet we see and customize our preventive care and treatment options accordingly. Click on the headers below to learn more about each species.
Rabbits are among the most common exotic pets that we see. To properly care for a rabbit, it’s important to consider their diet, environment, and activity level as well as your handling techniques. During your rabbit’s visits to Riverstone Animal Hospital, we can give recommendations on the best food choices as well as tips on proper housing selection, handling, and exercise. Common signs of illness to look out for include loss of appetite, drooling, runny nose and eyes, head tilt, and fur loss.
Rabbit Dental Health
Dental health is extremely important in rabbits, and tooth-related problems account for a majority of the illnesses we see in these pets. A rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, and many times the common diet of pet bunnies does not allow for proper wearing down of the teeth. Regular evaluation and trimming of the teeth will help prevent significant problems later in the life of your bunny. We are trained and equipped to provide dental care for rabbits, including surgical extractions.
Spaying/Neutering for Rabbits
Our hospital also provides spay and neuter surgery for rabbits. Intact female rabbits are at high risk of cancer, and spaying early in life can help prevent this detrimental illness. Spaying and neutering also helps prevent territorial behaviors.
We provide care for a number of reptiles, including iguanas, bearded dragons, geckos, and snakes. Although reptiles are typically reasonably priced, it’s important to invest in creating the right environment for them. Some of the factors to consider are proper UV lighting, thermal gradients, and diet. By far the majority of problems we treat in reptiles are related to improper diet and environment. If you are a new reptile owner, we highly recommend that you schedule a nutritional consultation as soon as possible, as a proactive approach.
The needs of a snake are unique as compared to the exotic pets we see. Since snakes are carnivorous, it is important to include meat (prey) in their diet. Other things to consider are temperature and humidity, which are important for skin shedding. Some common problems seen in snakes are blister disease, parasites, and respiratory disease. Symptoms to look out for include oral or nasal discharge, lethargy, and lack of appetite.
While "rodent" is a word that many people associate with just mice and rats, the rodent family also includes guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Dental health and a balanced diet that includes daily vitamins are critical to rodent health. Soft bedding is also important to prevent foot abscesses. If you notice eye or nasal discharge, diarrhea, hair loss, or reluctance to eat with your guinea pig, hamster, or gerbil, please schedule an examination, as these symptoms may indicate a health problem.
As part of the weasel family, ferrets require a great deal of care, often more than many other pets. Equipment, diet, and training are all important components of caring for a ferret. In addition, since these animals are prone to distemper and heartworms, it is important to test and vaccinate them for these conditions annually. Other common problems in ferrets are adrenal disease and influenza. If your ferret experiences decreased appetite or lethargy, schedule an examination, as these may be signs of disease or influenza.