Careful observation of avian body language can provide clues when a bird is receptive to play or handling. Download this client education handout to share helpful advice on interpreting psittacine bird postures and behaviors.
This live, interactive webinar was presented by Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, a certified Fear Free™ veterinarian who is spearheading the development of an avian-focused Fear Free™ course. This presentation explores the reasons stress should be minimized during avian veterinary visits and the challenges that must be overcome. Dr. McLaughlin also shares practical tips for clinical implementation as they relate to clinic design, staff training, client education, as well as tips for working with avian patients in an exam room or hospital setting. Alicia has also provided two client education handouts for download that she uses in her daily practice.
This client education handout reviews basic care of the miniature pig. Topics covered include diet, housing, training and proper handling, as well as common health problems and preventive care measures, like vaccination and surgical sterilization.
Pot-belled or miniature pigs are interesting, complex animals that are sometimes kept as pets in urban areas. Unfortunately, there are many misleading claims associated with miniature pet pigs that can eventually lead to these animals being surrendered to shelters or rescues by owners that “leapt before they looked”. Although it is always important to educate […]
The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. Although veterinarians are allowed to provide humane care to any injured or orphaned wild animal, it is important to know your state laws as it is illegal to keep a pet opossum in many states. This client education handout reviews the basics of a pet opossum diet, caging, behavior, as well as health concerns.
Ferrets are susceptible to several strains of human influenza virus, which is spread through the air from coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory secretions. The virus is not only spread from human to ferret, but ferret to ferret and from ferret to human as well. Share this handout with owners to educate them on measures to keep their furry family member healthy as well as the appearance of influenza virus in the ferret.
Proper management of the pregnant sow requires an understanding of the risk factors associated with pregnancy-related disease and an ability to recognize early signs of problems. This client education handout explains proper care of the breeding and pregnant sow and provides tips for careful monitoring. Download the PDF version to distribute to veterinary clients or modify the Word document for your hospital’s needs.
Get ready now to care for exotic pets during an accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or even loss of life, such as blizzard, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, mud slide, or tornado. This disaster relief client education handout was revised and posted with permission from “Ready-Pets-Go!” by the Humane Society of Greater Rochester.
With the help of a handy infographic, this client education handout reviews the basics of a good rabbit diet as well as housing, including “bunny proofing”, and handling.
Gastrointestinal obstruction and a stomach distended with gas and fluid or “bloat” is a serious health problem of pet rabbits. Use this client educational handout to answer owner questions: What causes bloat and obstruction? Why is bloat a serious condition? What does bloat look like in the rabbit? This handout also explains the basics of a diagnostic workup, treatment, follow-up care, and prevention for this critical condition.
The mud turtle (Pelusios castaneus) is native to West Africa and its natural habitat consists of aquatic habitat surrounded by dense forest floors or submerged savannah. Shared by Dr. La’Toya Latney of PennVet, this educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this aquatic turtle species in captivity. Recommendations for indoor and outdoor housing as well as nutrition are described as well as common problems seen pet turtles.
The leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) is found throughout the southern edge of the Sahara and in Southern Africa from the Sudan to Ethiopia. Leopard tortoises inhabit hot arid desert, scrublands, and savannah. Shared by Dr. La’Toya Latney of PennVet, this educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this tortoise in captivity. Recommendations for indoor and outdoor housing as well as nutrition and breeding are described as well as common clinical problems.
The charming Chinese box turtle (Cuora flavomarginata) is native to the rice patty and pond environments of Taiwan and southern China. Shared by Dr. La’Toya Latney of PennVet, this educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this semi-aquatic turtle in captivity. Recommendations for indoor and outdoor housing as well as nutrition and breeding are described as well as common clinical problems.
Sulcata or African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata) are “gentle giants” found throughout the southern edge of the Sahara in Africa. Sulcata tortoises inhabit hot arid desert, scrubland, and savannah. Shared by Dr. La’Toya Latney of PennVet, this educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this popular tortoise in captivity. Recommendations for housing as well as nutrition, breeding, and common clinical problems are described.
Should I have my pet rabbit “fixed”? In most cases, the answer is an unqualified YES. In this client education handout, the benefits to spay or neuter of the house rabbit are explored. Recommendations for pre-surgical preparation for companion animal castration as well as aftercare are also discussed.
With proper care, pet rabbits can live long, happy lives. In this client education handout, we explore the aging changes that can be expected in the senior house rabbit including common health problems. Veterinary screening as well as home care of the geriatric rabbit are also explored.
Does my rabbit really need a companion? Many experts on house rabbit care agree that most individuals are not meant to live in solitude, away from members of their own kind. This client education handout discusses house rabbit companionship and the challenging process of rabbit introductions.
To the uninitiated, rabbits have a reputation for being docile, passive creatures. Any aggressive actions from a house rabbit can be surprising–even alarming–to new owners. In this client education handout, fights between rabbits as well as rabbit aggression towards people are discussed.
According to the Humane Society of the United States,17 deaths and many more injuries have been related to large constrictors since 1978. Given the tens of thousands of large constrictors sold, the incidence of fatalities and injuries is relatively low, however every incident—including the death of four babies in their cribs and three additional children—is particularly tragic since these cases are completely preventable. In this client education handout, safety tips involving snake feeding, housing, and behavior are discussed.
How to Question the Source of Your Future Lifelong Companion:
By the time you are ready to select the breeder or shop to purchase your companion parrot, you have hopefully done your homework…
Aquatic turtles are personable, popular pets, however their upkeep can be labor intensive. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain semi-aquatic turtle species such as sliders (Trachemys spp.), painted turtles (Chrysemys), pond turtles (
Ear or aural abscess is extremely common in box turtles and aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles like red-eared sliders. This educational handout will help your client understand this clinical problem, the veterinary treatment commonly required as well as follow-up care and monitoring.
Box turtles are one of the most common reptile pets in the United States. There are many subspecies of the box turtle, with the Eastern box turtle and three-toed box turtle being most commonly kept as pets. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this species in captivity. Recommendations for pet turtle diet and housing, as well as common clinical problems seen in veterinary practice are described.
What is metabolic bone disease or nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism? This educational handout will help the reptile and amphibian owner understand this common problem from the underlying cause and signs of illness to the testing and treatment commonly recommended by your veterinarian.
Care of the captive snake requires proper nutrition. All snakes are strict carnivores. Depending on the species of interest, preferred prey items may include appropriately sized rodents, rabbits, fish, birds, reptiles, and even other snakes. This client education handout strives to answer many of the questions that can arise related to feeding snakes and snake diets: When should my snake be fed? Should I feed fresh or frozen prey? How often should I feed my snakes? What size prey should be fed? What if my snake won’t eat?
An insectivore diet consists completely or partially of insects. Insectivorous or insect eating reptiles include some turtles and snakes, and many lizards. This client education handout explores many practical matters related to feeding insect prey from types (like mealworms and waxworms), size, and number recommended, as well as cautions for toxic insects that should never be fed. Techniques used to improve dietary calcium levels from gut-loading to dusting are also described.
Proper pet bird care requires constant access to fresh water. Some bird owners prefer water bottles because open water bowls are vulnerable to contamination from droppings, food, and other debris. This educational handout will help your client understand the pros and cons of this husbandry option. Selection of appropriate equipment, mounting, and proper bottle sanitation and maintenance are discussed. Training is essential for proper bottle use and the basics of introduction are also reviewed.
Lories and lorikeets are some of the most colorful members of the parrot family. Native to Australia, Tasmania, and the South Pacific islands, many species are threatened or endangered in the wild due to habitat loss or trapping. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain these beautiful birds in captivity. Recommendations for diet, housing, and bathing are described as well as common problems seen in the pet lory and lorikeet.
First aid is the initial treatment given to an injured or ill bird during an emergency. The goal of first aid is to stabilize the bird until veterinary medical care can be provided. Donated by Dr. Greg Burkett, this client educational handout helps owners prepare for emergencies. Topics covered include the creation of a home hospital cage, stocking a first aid kit, the basics of owner supportive care as well as specific advice for emergencies like bite wounds, bleeding, and head trauma.
Why Does My Rabbit? Common house rabbit behavior questions answered.
In many instances, rabbits kept in hutches, pet stores, or laboratories do not receive enough stimulation or physical space to demonstrate their full behavioral repertoire. Owners of house rabbits know these are intelligent creatures with distinct personalities and a range of behaviors. In this educational handout, clients can review normal husbandry, age, and sex-related behavior as well as normal sounds and actions like chewing and digging. The challenges of multi-rabbit households are also discussed.
Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining a healthy….
Better safe than sorry. Veterinary health professionals rely on a wide range of information because it is generally considered best to err on the side of caution. This client educational handout divides potential danger foods into three categories.
Many parrots instinctively strive for a position of dominance within their flock (your household). Many of the behavioral problems that can arise from such a situation, may be prevented when…
Toxic plants reported in small animals include aloe vera, Amanita mushrooms, Amaryllis sp…
Many companion parrot species originate from tropical environments with high humidity in which they bathe often. Even parrots from arid environments enjoy and benefit from bathing. Bathing stimulates preening and is essential for normal feather health. In fact, inadequate bathing and low humidity have often been linked to feather picking. Use this client education handout to explore bird bathing methods as well as Do’s and Don’t’s to encourage the pet bird to bathe or shower.
Why syringe fed? A cornerstone of treatment is delivery of food containing high dietary fiber. Proper syringe-feeding technique is essential..
Sugar gliders are small, nocturnal marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea.
It is a natural instinct for parrots to hide signs of illness. In the wild, this skill serves them well, and in fact, may save their lives…
The Savannah monitor is native to the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa.
“Simply having a reptile in the household increases the risk of Salmonella spp. infection”. Learn who is most at risk and what you can do to minimize your family’s risk of contracting disease.
Rats are clean, friendly, playful, and quiet, and of all the “pocket pets” they are considered uniquely responsive to their owners.
Psittacosis is an infectious disease of birds and people caused by Chlamydia psittaci, formerly known as Chlamydophila psittaci. This client education handout discusses types of birds commonly associated with human psittacosis, persons at risk as well as details of psittacosis in humans as birds and measures to prevent disease.
The more prepared you are as a new owner, the easier your baby bird’s adjustment will be to his new home. Use this checklist to smooth the transition.
The free-ranging black-tailed prairie dog is a social rodent that lives in “towns”.
Few studies have been conducted to determine which houseplants are toxic to birds, so all plants that contain known toxic chemicals have been excluded from the Safe Plant List
Parrots are extremely intelligent creatures; and toys are one of the most important items we can purchase for our birds. Many avian behaviorists recommend four types of toys…
Cottontail rabbits hide their nests in plain view in the middle of a lawn, in brush piles, or long grass…
This 2-page document provides guidance on what to do when one finds a baby bird.
This 4-page manuscript provides guidance on what to do when one finds a baby bird.
Pet bird behavior is complex, and it is crucial that bird owners have a realistic understanding of what to expect from their pets…
Mice are good-natured, inquisitive creatures that make great, inexpensive, low-maintenance pets.
Keeping your pet healthy is everyone’s goal. However if your bird becomes ill, effective treatment will require that medications are given at the right dose and frequency for the…
Rabbits naturally choose one or a few places (usually corners) to deposit their urine and most of their fecal balls.
Lead poisonings in birds most commonly occurs from ingestion of substances containing lead. Lead can be found in many household items.
Insulinoma, or pancreatic beta cell tumor, is an abnormal growth of the pancreas that secretes excess amounts of insulin. Unfortunately, insulinoma is an extremely common disease of middle-aged to older ferrets.
There are a host of potential household dangers that may confront our winged companions.
When including feathered friends during the holiday season, bird owners must keep their pets safe. This client education handout explores potential holiday hazards for pet birds during the holiday season, from plants and cleaning agents to foods and stressors.
The African pygmy hedgehog, also known as the 4-toed or white-bellied hedgehog, originates from central Africa.
Native to South America, the guinea pig is a lively, lovable rodent that requires relatively easy care. This client education handout reviews housing and diet recommendations as well as the basics of safe handling, enrichment, and grooming. Download the PDF version to distribute to veterinary clients or modify the Word document for your hospital’s needs.
The green or common iguana (Iguana iguana) is a tree-dwelling reptile native to the tropical and subtropical regions of central and South America and parts of Mexico. The iguana is a solitary creature
In the wild, parrots exhibit four main behaviors: social interaction, grooming, foraging, and sleeping. The vast majority of their days are spent foraging or searching for food.
Ferrets are playful, friendly animals that can make excellent pets for the right person. This client education handout reviews basic care of the pet ferret. Topics covered include natural history, diet, housing, behavior and handling, grooming, as well as proper preventive care.
In their native habitat, some parrots like cockatiels, budgerigar parakeets, as well as many cockatoos and macaws are seed-eaters.
Feather destructive behavior represents a range of actions from excessive preening to feather plucking or feather picking to self-mutilation.
Dispense this client educational handout to owners of insulinoma ferrets and other patients on steroids.
Conversion to a healthy diet will improve the health and feather quality of your pet bird. Before beginning a dietary conversion, your bird should be…
Chronic egg laying is the production of an excessive number of eggs or repeated clutches (or collections) of eggs. Chronic egg laying often occurs in the absence of a normal…
The long-tailed chinchilla is native to the mountains and foothills of the Andes Mountains in South America. These rodents are known for their large ears and soft, luxurious fur. Chinchillas make charming pets, but they are naturally skittish and are not considered a good choice for small children because of their delicate bones and their hyperactive natures. Most pet chinchillas live 6-10 years.
This client education handout reviews basic husbandry recommendations, including diet, housing, dust bathing, exercise, as well as handling and behavior.
Every year, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds in the United States alone. Download the American Bird Conservancy PDF brochure that advises clients on the best way to protect birds and cats.
The ideal bird cage should be spacious and clean, with multiple perches and stimulating toys. Specific cage requirements will vary with the species and the amount of time your…
The blue-tongued skink is a stocky, cylindrical lizard with small legs and a large head, known for its deep, vivid blue tongue…
The parrot beak is not inherently a weapon. Instead it is a sensory organ used to touch and explore the world. Much of the exploration parrots do with their beak is not biting, however this exploration can get a little rough, or even…
There are a number of medical reasons for feather picking and a complete diagnostic evaluation of your bird’s health status is always recommended. The following techniques may be helpful, however, whether the underlying cause of the feather picking is behavioral or medical.
Bearded dragons are omnivores that accept a wide variety of foods. Variety is the key to good nutrition and foods offered should include…
A public health guide on bats and rabies by Bat Conservation International.
The onset of reproductive or “broody” behavior varies with the species.
Avian polyomavirus is one of the most important viral diseases seen in the companion parrot.
Avian influenza or “bird flu” is a group of viral infections that occur naturally among birds. Some wild birds like…
Avian bornavirus was identified as a cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine…
Aspergillosis can develop in any bird, but companion birds most frequently diagnosed with aspergillosis include…
What you need to know before adopting a house rabbit.
This handy guide details the key facts you need to consider before committing yourself to a pet rabbit. Visit the Make Mine Chocolate website and download their “Are Rabbits Right For Me?” PDF handout. Link posted with permission.
Adrenocortical disease is a common endocrine disorder in middle-aged to older ferrets.
Reproductive problems are a common problem in many small pet bird species, particularly cockatiels, budgerigars parakeets, lovebirds, finches and canaries. In this client handout donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, egg laying problems from egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis to chronic egg laying are briefly explained to the companion parrot owner.
Techniques to introduce healthy foods are described in this client educational handout donated by Dr. Larry Nemetz. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common problems in pet bird medicine, especially in South American species like Amazon parrots, conures, and macaws. At least one vitamin A-rich food should be fed to your pet bird EVERY DAY. Remember, birds can discern color and texture, as well as taste, so changing the form and presentation of the food can make a big difference in acceptance of the new food. Be patient when it comes to new foods with your pet bird!
Feather picking is the most frustrating behavioral condition in pet birds from both the veterinarian’s and the owner’s perspective. This client education handout, donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, explains that feather picking is a symptom and not a particular disease. Potential causes of feather picking are summarized and possible veterinary tests and treatment recommendations are listed.
While most exotic pets are housed indoors, there are still some key concepts to keep in mind when winter comes around. Donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, this client education handout describes exotic pet housing, transport, and household hazards during cold weather months.
Avian polyomavirus infection is a disease in psittacine birds or parrots of greatest concern in chicks. This client handout briefly explains this important disease from signs and transmission to diagnostic testing and control or prevention.
Donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, this client education handout describes psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), an important disease of parrots. This handout discusses the cause of PBFD, bird species at greatest risk, transmission, as well as diagnosis or testing. Recommendations for removal of PBFD from a collection or aviary are also described.
The small, affectionate birds we call cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) have undergone extensive modification through captive breeding. Color variations or mutations have increased in number over the years. The “Wild-type” or “Normal” cockatiel is the foundation of all mutations and is referred to as the “Grey” cockatiel. All other color variations, such as pearl, albino, lutino, and pied cockatiels, are mutations from this gene pool. In this client education handout, cockatiel types are described and recommendations for pet bird owners are discussed.