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5 Reasons Why Exotic Pets need Trips to the Vets

Author: Dr. Lacy Gilmer


“I’ve had my bird for 25 years and she’s never been sick- why should I bring 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 5 reasons why you should schedule a checkup for your exotic pet today.

1.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 down the road. In fact, 90% of the problems I see with exotic animals are due to 1 or more of their needs not being met. The pet stores often have outdated or bad information, and your comprehensive physical exam with your exotics vet will discuss all of these needs and how to help you best care for your exotic companion.


2.Nutrition. Did I mention nutrition? This is probably the single hardest area of maintaining a healthy exotic animal as a companion, as 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 at staying on top of all the latest research to ensure we are getting your feather, furry, or scaly friend all the updated recommendations.

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

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

5.Grooming. Regular nail trims make handling your pet more comfortable, and help prevent snagging of sharp nails, which can cause injury. 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 us help you care for your exotic with the latest in preventative and diagnostic care. All new exotic pet patients during the month of October will receive 10% off their wellness exams! Call us at Calvert Veterinary Center at 410-360-7297 to schedule an appointment today.

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