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Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery

Our veterinarians are experienced in providing care and treatment for exotic companion animals, including ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, iguanas, rabbits, and snakes. We understand their unique health needs and can provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services, as well as counselling on nutrition, behaviour, and general care.

Rabbits

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Rabbits are susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions, including overgrown teeth, hairballs, parasites, and cancer. They also tend to hide signs of illness or pain.

Contact us if your rabbit:

  • Has discharge from the eyes or nose, runny stool, or a gurgling stomach
  • Has an elevated or low temperature
  • Begins drooling, scratching at the ears, or sneezing
  • Starts tilting his or her head
  • Develops bald patches in his or her fur
  • Stops eating, appears quieter than normal, or shows other abnormal behaviour

In addition, your rabbit can benefit from regular dental checkups. We can help make sure problems with your rabbit’s teeth don’t turn into serious, potentially life-threatening conditions.

We also strongly suggest that you have your rabbit spayed or neutered. Not only can rabbits potentially give birth once a month, but they can also have up to 14 babies at a time! Even in households with a single rabbit, spaying or neutering has benefits: It can protect your rabbit from several types of cancer and reduce or eliminate aggression, as well as other undesirable behaviour, such as spraying, mounting, destructive chewing, and biting. Spaying or neutering will not change your rabbit’s personality.

If you have any questions about how to care for your rabbit, we can discuss diet, housing, grooming, and even litterbox training.

Ferrets

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You can help keep your ferret healthy by bringing him or her in for an exam once a year. That way, we can monitor any changes that occur in your pet and help prevent or catch diseases early, when they’re easier to treat. As ferrets age, they may need additional testing and dental care.

Common problems associated with ferrets include gastrointestinal disease, parasites, and cancer. In addition, ferrets are inquisitive creatures by nature and frequently ingest objects they shouldn’t. Regular blood tests can help determine whether your ferret has any problems with the kidneys, liver, or pancreas.

Ferrets can also benefit from receiving certain vaccinations and monthly preventives, which we can discuss with you during your visit. Please bring a stool sample to your ferret’s annual exam so we can test for internal parasites.

Unless you are planning to breed your ferret, we recommend that he or she be spayed or neutered. Female ferrets, or jills, do not need to give birth once to stay healthy. In fact, spaying can save a ferret’s life. Jills that haven’t been spayed will stay in heat until they’re bred. This condition can cause anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), which can be fatal. In male ferrets, neutering can reduce their strong body odor, prevent marking, and reduce aggressive behaviour.

Please contact us right away if your ferret develops any unusual symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, lack of appetite, trouble breathing, black ear wax, discharge from the eyes or nose, lumps, swelling, or an increase in aggression or sexual behaviour (especially in neutered males).

Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice and Rats

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Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from veterinary attention. Teeth, which grow continuously in gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice often require trimming. (We can also recommend appropriate chew toys, which may help keep the teeth worn down.) Parasites such as lice, mites, and fleas can infest your pet. In addition, these companion animals can suffer from other health issues.

Call us if your pet stops eating, loses weight, appears quieter than normal, has discharge from the eyes or nose, or develops a lump on its body. We can provide treatment that fits within your budget.

Iguanas and Other Lizards

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Nutrition-related disorders and diseases are common in iguanas and other lizards. We can help you avoid these problems. Call us to set up a nutritional consultation so we can discuss how to help keep your lizard healthy.

We also offer an initial checkup for new lizard owners to help identify current or potential medical problems and, if necessary, begin treatment. In addition, we can provide you with information on appropriate enclosures, environmental requirements, sanitation, and disease prevention.

Snakes

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Snakes can suffer from a variety of diseases, some of which can cause serious respiratory, gastrointestinal, and liver problems. They also commonly harbour internal and external parasites, including hookworms, roundworms, mites, and ticks.

We recommend that you bring your new snake in for an initial exam so we can make sure it’s healthy. If your snake needs future veterinary attention, we’ll also have a baseline to compare against. Although snakes don’t need vaccinations, they can benefit from routine exams. Annual veterinary visits can even help your snake live longer.

We can share our knowledge of appropriate enclosures, temperature and humidity, lighting, substrates (ground covering), cleaning, and skin shedding. Besides having feeding requirements that are species specific, snakes can become stressed and may not eat. If this happens, please contact us so we can help. We can also determine the sex of your snake.

A healthy snake should flick its tongue and be alert and active, showing interest in its environment; its scales should be smooth and dry. Call us immediately if you notice any of the following signs of illness: vomiting or regurgitation, diarrhea, loss of appetite or weight, weakness or loss of energy, wheezing, mucus or bubbling around the nostrils, changes around the mouth (inflammation, purplish-red spots, dry and diseased tissue), and changes in the skin (reddening, slow-healing sores, swelling, discharge).