Summer in the South can be brutal, and with so many families moving here from around the country, they and their pets may be in for a big surprise. As we all know it’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity! Some pets enjoy extreme temperatures, but most of our exotic pets are not native to areas that have this type of climate. Here we bring you some tips to help keep your exotic pets of all types safe and comfy this season.
Rabbits should not be kept in outdoor enclosures here, unless they are elevated and secure with proper flooring and air conditioning. They don’t tolerate temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit well and life-threatening overheating can occur rapidly. Ectoparasites like fleas are a major concern, and fly strike is a real problem. Additionally the encroachment of RHDV-2 brings increased risk to rabbits permitted outdoors. As there is no cure and the vaccine is not yet available in our state, prevention is currently our only option. Our veterinarians are happy to discuss the best housing options for your bun at your exam and make sure you are providing everything your little one needs for safety and comfort.
You may want to get your bird or reptile outside on these nice days to enjoy some sunshine, and we encourage that with supervision. Never leave your pet alone outside, as predators like hawks, outdoor/stray cats, snakes, and even insects like ants can quickly become dangerous to them. Make sure your pet is in a secure, well-ventilated enclosure that has a portion in the shade, so your pet can self-regulate its body temperature. Make sure there is cool, fresh water available to drink. A dish big enough to soak or bathe in is a nice addition so they can splash and frolic freely. Just as with a child, never leave your pet alone in the water. Watch for indications that your pet may be ready to head back to a more comfortable temperature such as open-mouth breathing, hiding in the shade, or holding the wings away from the body.
Keep in mind that pets permitted to wander the yard may ingest items such as screws, nails, rocks, and other foreign bodies that can be harmful or fatal. Always scout the area thoroughly prior to permitting your little one to roam. Those who forage for grasses or insects like backyard chickens or tortoises may find themselves biting off more than they can chew in the form of parasites or bad bacteria, so twice-annual intestinal parasite screens are definitely called for, and more frequently if you see any change in the stool color, consistency, frequency, or odor.
Pets permitted outdoors may also collect ectoparasites like fleas and mites, so keeping up with biannual exams including thorough ear and skin analysis is vital. If you notice any scratching or pawing at the skin or ears, or any scabs, lumps, or bumps, bring your pet for an exam and we can resolve those issues for you. We have parasite prevention plans for all kinds of pets to help stop those little biters before they start. Our veterinarians are happy to discuss your pet’s best options at your exam.
Don’t forget the mosquitoes that can sneak into your home despite your screens and best efforts. Ferrets are particularly prone to heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquito bite and are untreatable and ultimately fatal. While Advantage Multi for small cats is FDA approved for use in ferrets and will prevent fleas, ear mites, and heartworm some may find it cost-prohibitive. We offer the best pricing on our Online Pharmacy. We also have an oral preventative sold exclusively through our clinic that will ensure your ferret’s protection from heartworms when given monthly and costs $30 a year. That’s a bargain for peace of mind.
Summer is a time for family and fun, and we are here to help you all enjoy it in comfort and safety. Call us with any questions, concerns, and to schedule your pet’s wellness exam to make sure your little one is in good shape for the season!