Veterinary Topics

Mar
27
Food and Housing

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Food
Ferrets are exceptionally playful, so expect your ferret to tip over his food and water bowls. Check on them often, tape them down, or use an unspillable bowl. Rodent water bottles are not recommended as a ferret may damage his teeth on the spout. Because ferrets have such rapid metabolism, they awaken to eat about every four hours. Fresh water and food should always be available to them. Ferrets eat only what they need and leave excess food for later, so one need not worry about over-feeding. Ferrets must be fed a high quality dry ferret or kitten food. Hard food keeps the ferrets teeth clean and makes their feces less smelly. The food should contain at least 32% protein, primarily mea...


Mar
27
Behavior and Training

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Ferrets have powerful, distinct and engaging personalities, and a playful and fastidious nature. Ferrets are diurnal creatures with their periods of greatest activity just before sunrise and shortly after sunset. They sleep about eighteen to twenty hours of the day, waking up twice a day for very active periods of about two hours. Due to their very high metabolism, ferrets also awaken roughly every four hours for a few minutes to eat, relieve themselves, and play briefly. When they wake, ferrets shiver very noticeably for periods up to twenty minutes. This is normal as the ferret is increasing his body temperature after sleep due to his higher metabolism and inherently higher body temperat...


Mar
27
Ferret Health

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You will need to take your ferret in to your veterinarian twice a year for a medical checkup and yearly vaccinations. Ferrets require yearly inoculations against canine distemper. They are highly susceptible to canine distemper and it is always fatal. Do not forget to inoculate against this every year! If your ferret is outside for any length of time, a rabies vaccination is also suggested. In some jurisdictions this is mandatory. Be aware that proof of rabies inoculation is required when taking your pet across international borders. Include a dental examination for your pet also. Though ferrets seldom develop cavities, check your ferret's teeth regularly as many ferrets break their fangs ...


Mar
27
African Grey Parrots

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There are two subspecies of African grey parrot commonly found in the pet trade - the Congo African grey (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) and the Timneh African grey (Psittacus erithacus timneh). The Congo African grey is slightly larger than the Timneh, and has bright red tail feathers. The Timneh's tail feathers are darker (maroon), and overall the Timneh usually has slightly darker coloration than the Congo, especially over the back (although not always the case). While the Congo's beak is grey, the Timneh's upper mandible is bone colored with a dark edge, while the lower mandible is grey.


There is some debate over whether there are significant differences in temperament between Congos an...


Mar
27
Zebra Finches

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In general, finches have an expected lifespan of anywhere from 5-15 years. The wide range here can probably be attributed to species differences as well as an increased understanding of their husbandry, especially diet. Zebra finches are arguably the most popular bird species found in the North American pet trade. They are attractive birds, and the males are easily distinguished from the females. The males have black and white bars on the throat and breast, orange cheek patches and brown on the sides of the body. Both males and females have red-orange beaks, although the male's is much brighter in hue. The above description applies to the wild type coloration; a wide variety of color mutatio...


Mar
27
Lovebirds

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Lovebirds are very social and form deep bonds with their owners. If you are short on time to spend with your lovebird, then it is best to get him or her a companion.


There are several species of lovebirds, such as the genus Agapornis. But the most commonly found species in the pet trade include peach faced lovebirds, or Agapornis roseicollis, masked lovebirds (Agapornis personata) and Fischer's lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri). There are many color mutations found in peach faced lovebirds and several mutations in some of the other species, so there are many color variations of lovebirds available. Lovebirds are small, compact parrots about 5-6 inches in length and can live up to 15 years or ...


Mar
27
Cockatiels

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Cockatiels are among the most popular pet birds. Small parrots with a variety of color patterns and a crest, they are attractive as well as friendly and easy to tame. Because of their small size, cockatiel care and taming is easier than some other parrot species. They are capable of mimicking speech, although they can be difficult to understand. However, they are quite good at whistling and can often be taught to whistle tunes.


Choosing a Bird


It is best to choose a hand fed baby or at least a young bird that has been handled regularly. Prices will vary with color and you can expect to pay a bit more from a conscientious breeder, but a well handled young bird is worth any extra cost. Cockatiel...


Mar
27
Canaries

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The Canary species is called Serinus canaria and is actually a member of the finch family, native to the Canary Islands. The wild canary is greenish yellow over most of their body with yellow underparts. The domestic canary comes in an array of bright colors and can live up to 10 years. Male canaries sing better than females, although the canary may not sing as much during a molt. The canary does not require a great deal of attention and are suitable for beginning pet bird owners. Canaries are not social birds so a single pet canary will be happy.


Housing Canaries


Get the largest cage possible, that allows for room for flight (a pet canary should never have his or her wings clipped and shoul...


Mar
27
Budgies

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Budgies (budgerigars) are an extremely popular pet bird, and for good reason. These small parrots make delightful pets, and are usually friendly and easy to tame. While they can sometimes be difficult to understand, they are quite capable of mimicking speech. Budgies are sometimes also called parakeets (specifically shell parakeets) as they are members of the parakeet family. There are also two types of budgies - the American budgie or parakeet, and the English budgie. The American variety is the one most commonly found in pet stores, while type often seen in exhibitions and shows is the English budgie. English budgies are larger and have a different appearance than American budgies, but all...


Mar
27
Handling and Restraint

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Improper handling may cause serious, life-threatening injuries. Fractures and dislocations of the back, most often resulting in paralysis of both rear legs, are the most common injuries. These injuries occur when rabbits are suddenly frightened and attempt to escape from a small enclosure.


A rabbit's spine is relatively lightweight and fragile. When a rabbit becomes frightened, it violently struggles by powerfully kicking its back legs. The lightning-fast movements of the rear legs cause overextension of the lumbosacral (lower back) region of the spine, which frequently results in fractures or dislocations. One should never try to overpower a struggling rabbit. If a rabbit violently resists ...