Enrichment is a continuously growing and evolving concept in animal care which centers around the idea of keeping captive animals stimulated in their environments by allowing them to engage in as many natural behaviors as possible and giving options on how to interact with their environment (essentially giving them choices). Enrichment is widely utilized in zoos and most commonly with large mammals; however, many other species including birds, reptiles, and small mammals are often overlooked.
We provide the best care for small mammal pets in the Valley. Each different type of small mammal has different care, medicine, and surgical needs. We stay current on the latest advances in medicine and surgery for these pets.
For ferrets, we provide wellness examinations and vaccinations based on your pet’s individual risk for disease. Did you know that the grains in many ferret diets may not be good for them? We can provide dietary recommendations to help improve your ferret’s health and sometimes correct associated illnesses. We are knowledgable in the management of adrenal disease, insulinoma, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other medical problems of ferrets. We provide deslorelin hormonal management of adrenal disease (which costs less, is safer, and more effective than surgery for most pets). We can perform dental cleanings to remove tartar and reduce gingivitis. We can provide complete surgical services to remove things they should not have eaten, remove tumors, and for any other problem your ferret may have.
We work with a lot of rabbit patients. Wellness exams and nutritional counseling are important for early detection of problems in bunnies. Teeth problems, and not the front ones you can see, are a very common underlying cause for many health problems in rabbits. We have a special scope that lets us examine your bunnies cheek teeth back in it’s mouth to look for points or spikes on the teeth that cause oral pain and affect the way it eats. We have special instruments and tools made for filing bunny teeth that we use to correct oral problems. Gastraointestinal (GI) stasis is a common problem in bunnies due to hairballs, teeth problems ( malocclusion ), infections, and other illnesses. Upper respiratory problems are another common problem we treat . Most respiratory infections resolve with basic medications and care, but some need a lot more work and we are experienced at working with these cases. Encephalitozoan cuniculli is a parasitic disease that is semi common in bunnies. We are good at identification and management of this disease. We provide advanced care for elderly rabbits with arthritis and other problems to keep them happy and feeling good. We have a high success rate in treatment of ill bunnies. We also perform spay and neuter surgeries, bathing, nail trimming, and boarding for bunny patients.
Guinea pigs are great pets, but have many specific needs for care and nutrition that many people are unaware of. We provide wellness examinations and nutritional counseling to maximize your guinea pigs health and longevity. Upper respiratory infections, ringworm, lice and mites, and cysts are common problems we treat guinea pigs for. Upper respiratory infections can progress to pneumonia quickly and you should have your pet seen and started on treatments as soon possible if sneezing, runny nose, and runny eyes are seen. Guinea pigs have constantly growing teeth that can sometimes develop points or spikes causing oral pain. We have the special tools and equipment to diagnose and fix teeth problems. We recommend spaying guinea pigs to prevent ovarian cysts, cancer, infections, and other common female health problems that occur in older intact females. We recommend neutering males to prevent pregnancies with female roommates and to decrease aggression with other male roommates. We also provide boarding, bathing, and nail trimming of r our guinea pig patients.
Chinchillas are a growing part of our practice. Just like many other small mammals chinchillas have their own specific care and dietary requirements. Chinchillas, like rabbits and guinea pigs, have constantly growing molars or cheek teeth. Spikes and points on these teeth associated with malocclusion are common when proper diet and care are not provided. Excessive drooling, weight loss, and decreased appetite are the most common signs associated with teeth problems chinnies. We provide parasite testing for giardia, a common underlying cause for skin problems. Make sure you chinchilla has a dust bath and proper diet.
Most rats are amazingly social and make great pets. Unfortunately many rats in the pet trade are exposed to viruses and bacteria that they carry for life that commonly cause upper and lower respiratory infections. We have extensive experience in treating respiratory disease in rats. We can provide albuterol nebulization and other treatments in addition to antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications that can make your pet feel better and recover faster. Mammary tumors are a common problem in rats. We are skilled at surgical removal of these or palliative management to keep your rat comfortable. We also manage pituitary tumors, skin problems, and all other medical problems. We spay, neuter, and provide other surgical services for rats. Many rats board with us while their human companions are out of town.
Sugar gliders are cool pets but not for everyone. Do your research before adopting or purchasing one. They have special dietary and care needs different from many other pets. Dental problems are common in gliders on soft food only diets. Wounds are not uncommon from fighting. Liver and gall bladder disease are also common in these little guys. We can perform blood tests and use ultrasound to diagnose this problem. Successful management with surgery and medicines is possible. We provide neutering using radiosurgery which minimizes bleeding and pain associated with surgery.
We also provide care for degus, hamsters, gerbils, mice and other small creatures. Our knowedgable doctors and staff can identify problems your pet has and offer appropriate testing and treatment options to make them feel better. Many of these pets are not fed correctly and become obese. We recommend wellness exams and nutritional counseling to help improve your pets quality and quantity of life.
Below are resources we've gathered that relate to small mammals (i.e. pocket pets) and small mammal ownership. Drill down into specific species for more detailed information.
Dental problems are common in captive rodents. It is often linked to a diet rich in seeds as these often do not provide enough protein and minerals for healthy bone growth. Dental disease can develop for a variety of other reasons. For example, some rodents may be born with abnormally shaped teeth that simply don't line up for proper grinding. Injuries to the mouth, skull, or jaw bone may cause the teeth to grow at odd angles. Tumors may also start to deform the shape of the teeth.
If you can't identify a plant, don't feed it to your pet!
Nurseries, agricultural extension agents, botanical gardens and arboretums, and various books and websites are available to help you identify plants. Plants often have different common names throughout the country so make sure you know the scientific name of the plant in question otherwise you might end up with the wrong information.
Pets may be sent home with liquid medications. An oral liquid medication must be given by mouth to be effective. An injectable liquid medication must be given by injection beneath the skin to be useful. Some injectable medications require that the medication is inserted into the muscle to be most effective. It is important that you understand how to read the syringes that are sent home so your pet gets the proper amount of medication at each dose.
Although this article was written for reptile, the information is applicable to all exotic pets, including rodents, birds, and other animals.
All exotic pets, even ones that appear to be outwardly healthy, have the potential to carry and spread contagious diseases that can impact the health of people. This sort of disease is called a "zoonosis", "zoonotic disease", or "zoonotic infection".