A small tortoise walks in the bark of his habitat

The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital love all pets – and birds, reptiles, and small mammals are no exception! Learning how to properly care for these special creatures involves providing them with the right habitat, diet, and opportunities for exercise and interaction each day. 

Regular veterinary care is a core component of responsible exotic pet ownership. Annual wellness examinations, along with an understanding of the signs of illness in exotic pets, are essential when it comes to keeping your little pal healthy and happy.

Signs of Illness in Exotic Pets

Unfortunately, by the time most exotic pets are brought to see us, they are very ill and have little chance for recovery. Like dogs and cats, exotic pets instinctively hide signs of illness and injury, leaving up to their owner to figure out when something is wrong

Pay close attention to your pet – their behavior, posture, general appearance, habits, and even the consistency and appearance of their stool will all give you insight into their overall health. When it comes to detecting signs of illness in exotic pets, look for changes in the following areas:

  • Appearance – Weight loss/gain, changes in skin or fur appearance, difficulty shedding in snakes (not shedding in one piece, retained eye caps present), disheveled appearance, lumps/bumps, lesions, or other injuries.
  • Eating/drinking habits – Is your pet eating or drinking more or less? Vomiting or regurgitation can also indicate a problem.
  • Behavior – A change in behavior including sudden aggression, more hiding, lethargy, excessive digging, less climbing activity, tremors, or anything else out of the ordinary.
  • Stool – The appearance of your pet’s stool and urine can indicate a change in overall health. Too much or too little excretion, staining, or discoloration may be cause for concern.
  • Posture – Call us if your pet is unable to assume their normal posture. For example, limping, lameness, birds being unable to perch (sitting on the bottom of their cage) or excessive vertical posturing in snakes.
  • Breathing – Rapid breathing, wheezing, squeaking while breathing, and excessive saliva production all indicate potentially dangerous breathing issues.

Preventive Care at Naperville Animal Hospital

The behaviors of exotic pets can very with temperature, light, humidity, and other changes in their environment. Establishing a relationship with your Naperville Animal Hospital veterinarian through regular wellness exams will allow us to get to know what’s normal for your pet, and pinpoint any problems before they get out of hand.

Please contact The Pet Experts with any questions about your exotic pet, or to schedule an appointment. We’re here for you!