A question that I find I am commonly asked is “Why would I bring my small animal/pocket pet/bird to see you?” I think it’s a really great question. We understand that dogs and cats age quickly and that they need preventative medicine – like check-ups, vaccines, spays and neuters, flea prevention etc to help take care of them; but what about our other more “exotic” pets like birds and guinea pigs.
We recommend that we see all pets yearly for a general physical exam and to discuss things like husbandry (their cages, environmental needs and other necessary care such as food). I think one of the most important things to remember is that these little guys age extremely quickly and their metabolisms are very fast. As a result their needs can change over time and disease processes can have a very rapid progression unless it is caught quickly. By coming in for general check-ups we can make sure that the everyday care is at its best and help to give your pocket pets longer and happier lives.
As most of our exotic species are indoors and subsequently more protected, we don’t have a need for vaccines in most of our species – with the exception of ferrets. These little guys can contract distemper from dogs (and wild canids) so we do recommend vaccinating them against distemper yearly. As well, they can contract and transmit rabies and so they are the only other companion species (besides dogs and cats) that require rabies vaccines.
Birds are a slightly more complicated species as they can sometimes require grooming – nail trims and wing trims to control flight. We certainly recommend yearly physical exams in all of our bird species to ensure that they are healthy. If they need a grooming it would be done at the time of the exam. Then, once they have had their yearly exam year they can come in specifically for grooming procedures, assuming that they are otherwise healthy.
As with all species, if you are concerned about your pocket pet or bird in any way we recommend calling and discussing it with one of our team members so that we can best direct you as to whether or not this is a concern that can be addressed at home, or if your pet needs an examination. Through yearly physical examinations, careful husbandry at home and an open line of communication we hope to help your birds and pocket pets to lead long happy lives.