Required by law
Ferrets are the only exotic animal that we recommend vaccinating.
See "Caring For Your Ferret" for more information
on ferrets and the diseases that they commonly get.
Rabies is a viral disease that is typically transmitted
to humans and other animals through saliva when bit by an infected
animal. Rabies causes an acute encephalitis which is inflammation
of the brain. Early signs include malaise, headaches, and fever.
Later signs include pain, violent movements, mania. Death results
from respiratory insufficiency.
Vaccination: Rabies Vaccine - First vaccination between
12 and 16 weeks of age. Local law requires yearly revaccination
for entire life.
Canine Distemper is a viral disease that is spread from
infected dogs or ferrets through inhalation or contact with
infected body fluids. Signs include loss of appetite, thick
eye or nasal discharge, or skin rash. This virus is fatal to
Vaccination: Canine Distemper - First vaccination at
6 weeks of age and boostered at 9 and 12 weeks. We recommend
yearly revaccination while an adult and every other year revaccination
while a senior.
|Adrenal Gland Disease:
Adrenal Gland Disease is a very common illness in ferrets
three years and older and can be surgically corrected or medically
managed. The first signs are hair loss; this usually starts
on the tail. As the hair loss spreads it continues up the back.
In females the vulva can swell. Males can have trouble urinating.
The disease progress is slow and ferrets can live for 2-3 years
after symptoms first appear.
|Insulinomas are cancers of the pancreas that occur commonly
in older ferrets. Insulinomas are essentially the opposite of Diabetes
in that too much insulin is produced causing low blood glucose known
as hypoglycemia. Signs initially present as weakness and disorientation,
but can progress to seizures, convulsions, coma, or death. Insulinomas
can sometimes be treated surgically or managed medically but seldom
cured. Survival times typically last for months to a year or two
|Lymphoma is a type of malignant cancer that
occasionally occurs in ferrets of all ages. Signs are extremely
variable depending on the organs affected, but common clinical signs
include lethargy, weight loss, fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Masses especially in the abdomen may also be felt. There is no cure
for lymphoma in ferrets, but there are treatments available to slow
the progression and alleviate symptoms. Ferrets typically live 3-12
months after the initial diagnosis.
We do not recommend vaccinations for birds. However, they must be tested
for Psittacosis before boarding in our clinic. See "Caring
For Your Bird" for more information on birds.
Psittacosis is a wide spread disease caused by a bacterial
organism called Chlamydia psittaci (Also known as "parrot
fever", ornithosis or chlamydiosis). Transmission is primarily
by inhalation of infected dust from droppings or feathers, and
is enhanced by close contact with sick birds that are shedding
the organism. Some birds may show general "sick" symptoms
such as a lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, listlessness,
water green droppings, discharge from eyes or nares, or even
sudden death. However there are no specific characteristics
Psittacosis in humans - It is capable of being transmitted
from birds to humans. It is potentially dangerous for persons
who are sick, elderly or immunosuppressed (e.g. AIDS patients).
Persistent "flu-like" symptoms such as fever, chills,
headache, weakness, fatigue and respiratory signs may be experienced.
Because the condition in humans may be misdiagnosed, anyone
who is exposed to pet birds and who develops a prolonged case
of the flu should seek the advise of a physician.
|Feather picking is a very common problem in
our avian pets. There are many different underlying causes for feather
picking. Most often they are behavioral issues related to stress
or boredom much like humans chewing on fingernails, although there
are medical problems that can cause feather picking or feather loss.
Mild to moderate cases are mainly just cosmetic concerns, but severe
cases can lead to skin trauma and secondary infections. A physical
exam with laboratory work may be needed to rule out medical causes
in order to develop a specific treatment protocol.
Pasteurella, also known as "rabbit snuffles",
is a bacteria that is most often spread through inhalation of
nasal secretions from infected rabbits. Infected rabbits typically
display upper respiratory signs such as coughing, sneezing,
and clear nasal discharge that progresses to pus. The infection
can spread deeper into the lungs causing abscesses in the lungs
and around the heart. Rabbits often have crusty, stained front
paws from nasal drainage. Antibiotics are required for treating
||Gastrointestinal disease is very common in
rabbits. Clinical signs often include lethargy, anorexia, diarrhea,
constipation, straining, or grinding teeth. Most causes are husbandry
related such as an improper diet, acute change in diet, recently
transported rabbits, and the introduction of new rabbits into a
home. Other causes may include hairballs, obstructions, or an infection.
Rabbits with GI disease should be considered a serious problem and
should be treated immediately. Most need supplemental fluids and
forced feeding as well as other diagnostics and treatments.
|Dental disease is fairly common in rabbits. Rabbits have
continuously growing teeth similar to horses. Roughages such as
timothy hay is an essential part of a rabbit's diet. Timothy hay
is not only essential for a rabbit's digestive tract, but the grinding
of their teeth while chewing on hay helps to file their teeth down.
If they are not properly worn down, they can develop sharp projections
that can puncture gums or lips causing bleeding and infections.
Anorexia is a common secondary sign to dental disease as well as
weight loss, drooling, nasal discharge, facial swellings, or abscesses.
We can perform dental floats under anesthesia to file down any sharp
points leveling out their teeth if these projections occur.
Hypovitaminosis C, also known as "scurvy",
is recognized in humans, primates, and guinea pigs because they
do not have the genes to synthesize vitamin C. Because they
cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, they need vitamin C supplemented
in their food or water such as fruits or vegetables or vitamin
C tablets to add to their water. Clinical signs of scurvy include
dark purple spots on the skin, spongy bleeding gums, bleeding
from mucous membranes (nosebleeds), pale color, sunken eyes,
opening of healed scars, diarrhea, nail loss, swollen joints,
or the inability to move.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is a common bacterial disease in
mice and rats that causes respiratory and genital infections.
It is transmitted between rats through direct contact or over
short distances through respiratory secretions. It is not contagious
to humans. Symptoms include sniffling, sneezing, rough coat,
chattering, weight loss, lethargy, hunched posture, porphyrin
staining and/or labored breathing. There is no cure but antibiotics
can treat active infections. Infections may reoccur in the future
requiring further treatment.
|Tumors are quite common in mice and rats. They
tend to be malignant and can grow very rapidly. Mammary cancers
seem to be among the most common found in rodents. If you find a
mass or nodule you should have it seen by a veterinarian so they
can determine if it is a cancer or not. Surgical removal may cure
certain cancers, but most especially if malignant will reoccur several