by Rhonda Massad
Beaconsfield’s Sherwood Park Animal Hospital is one of the first West Island clinics to care for exotic animals. Dr. Geneviève Beauchamp will be caring for the less traditional pet population that tend to visit the veterinarian, such as birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pig, rat, chinchilla, mice, hedgehog as well as dogs and cats.
“Preventive medicine is very important for our exotic animals,” Beachamp explained. “A lot of diseases that we see are related to husbandry. Similar to dogs and cats, we recommend an annual checkup for all our exotic animals.”
“If your rabbit, rodent or bird is eating less or not eating at all,” Beauchamp explained, “it needs to be seen within 24 hours. I often say that one day for an exotic is a week for a cat or a dog.”
According to Beauchamp, the most common conditions in rabbits and rodents are dental and respiratory problems.
“Ferrets are prone to develop different kinds of tumors that can be controlled with medications. With a hedgehog, it is more diarrhea, dental and spines problems. There are many conditions with birds, but I would say that trauma, respiratory and liver problems and tumors are the most common reasons of presentation. Finally, with reptiles, anorexia, constipation, burn wounds are often seen,” she said.
Dr. Beauchamp offered some tips for bringing your exotic pet to the clinic:
1) for rabbits and rodents, you can use specially designed carrier, a box or a cat carrier
2) for a bird: if you have a small cage you can bring your bird in his cage, use a small carrier or a box. For cold weather, cover the cage with a warm blanket and put the heat on in your car 10 minutes before leaving.
3) for a reptile, bring then in a box. They need to stay warm so you can use a magical bag or hot water bottle.