Organized alphabetically by species, this fact list is intended as a partial list to initiate a dialogue between you and your vet. It is very sad to see pets die from preventable causes and lack of veterinary care. We hope this information will help save lives.
Link Guide Instructions
Below is the list of alphabetical list of animals. Simply click on any of the animal names or images to review their associated healthcare information.
General Requirements: Guinea pigs need a clean cage, filtered water, and a daily Vitamin C source. Feed only guinea pig food, provide fresh fruit/veggies daily, and provide hay for grazing. Oxbow brand food is a good non-alfalfa food source if your vet determines that this is needed. Avoid cedar bedding as it is very irritating. Provide a solid rather than a metal grid cage bottom to prevent foot injuries. Guinea pigs need periodic nail trims and annual/biannual vet exams to check teeth, stool and general health status. It is best to spay females to prevent mammary and repro tract tumors, as well as unwanted pregnancies.If you are breeding, the females must be no older than 6mos or they may not be able to deliver the babies and will need surgery. Neutering males may minimize retention of feces in rectal area (and avoid clostridium build up.) Guinea pigs are often shy and will not survive in active homes with other pets or young children. Guinea pigs are often available at the animal shelter. Medical: Guinea pigs exhibit gut stasis or lack of intestinal movement by eating less and producing fewer feces. Gut stasis needs immediate veterinary attention. Guinea pigs can also get itchy from hair mites, ringworm, or allergies. Some Guinea pigs have cystitis or bladder infections. Old age problems include kidney disease, arthritis, and neoplasia. Back to Link Guide >>
General Requirements: Iguanas need a clean, warm enclosure, with a UVA/UVB light source, (that is not more than 6 months old.) Iguanas do NOT get the needed UVB exposure through a glass window. Iguanas usually require a calcium supplement and a wide variety of fresh fruits & vegetables. Avoid bark bedding, corncob bedding, and grass carpet, (Iguanas will eat the loose pieces of plastic along the edges). Iguanas need to see the vet 1-2x/year for an exam and a stool check. Other diagnostics will be done if needed. Medical: Many iguanas have skin mites and intestinal parasites. Poor diet and lack of calcium and UV results in bone deformities, seizures and death. Iguanas will ingest all types of foreign materials and become fatally blocked if allowed to free roam around the house instead of staying in a cage. Female iguanas may have seasonal reproductive problems associated with egg retention, and need to be spayed. Early neuter of male iguanas may minimize aggression. * Iguanas become very large and can be aggressive to owners by using their tails, claws, and teeth to create wounds. Iguanas may carry Salmonella, and are NOT recommended for contact with children 5 yrs and under. Back to Link Guide >>
General Requirements: Rabbits need a clean roomy cage with plenty of filtered water. They need nail trims, possibly teeth trims, pelleted food, fruit /veggies and hay for grazing. Avoid cedar bedding as it can be very irritating. Rabbits need to be seen by the veterinarian 1-2x/year for exams and stool checks. Other diagnostics may also be performed. Your vet may recommend oxbow food if a non-alfalfa source is needed. Medical: Rabbits exhibit gut stasis, or lack of motility, by less eating, less fecal production, and less activity. It may be due to a hairball or other blockage, with bacterial overgrowth. Gut stasis is a medical emergency. Some rabbits have maloccluded or overgrown teeth and cannot eat very well. Rabbits easily break their backs when handled improperly, you vet will show you the safe way to pick up a rabbit. Bloody urine may indicate a urinary tract infection or a bladder stone. Warbles are fly grubs under the skin and are seen in rabbits kept outside. Crusty dirty ears may be due to ear mites. A rabbit that circles or leans sideways may have an infection, parasite or tumor. E.cunniculi and Pasturella are tested for with a blood sample. Rabbits may be itchy from fleas or ringworm. Female rabbits should be spayed to prevent mammary tumors, repro tract tumors and to make them more comfortable. * Rabbits are copraphagic, it is normal for them to eat their own feces! They produce two types of feces and normally eat the softer stools. Back to Link Guide >>
General Requirements: Snakes need a clean, dry, warm, roomy cage, with a fresh water supply. Avoid bark bedding, corncob bedding, and walnut bedding. Most snakes do well if kept 85F to 90F but check for individual species requirements. It is optional to provide UVA light, (black light), but it is often done to promote serotonin production and contentment. Snakes need to see the vet 1-2x/year for an examination and a fecal check. Other diagnostics may be needed. Medical: Bite wounds from live prey, (need to teach snake to eat killed food), mouth rot often associated with upper and lower respiratory disease or pneumonia. Medical problems are usually associated with a poor environment such as a cold, dirty cage. Some snakes get blister belly or inflamed swollen belly scutes from lying in a filthy wet cage full of feces and urates. Some snakes get burns from contact with a heat source that is too hot. Many snakes have mite, ticks, or internal parasites. * Snakes are not considered appropriate pets for children 5 years and under due to possible Salmonella infection. Back to Link Guide >>
General Requirements: Turtles need clean water deep enough to swim in and an area to climb totally out of the water. This area should have a basking light so they can dry out their shell. Most species do well at 80F-85F but check for individual species requirements. Turtles need balanced, fortified turtle food. Feeding only meat causes life threatening health problems. Aquatic turtles readily eat small gravel and become blocked. It is best to use either nothing on the tank bottom, sand, or larger rocks. Medical: Water becomes contaminated quickly unless changed frequently. Contaminated water causes shell and skin infections. Improper diet causes swollen eyes and respiratory problems. Turtles often have internal parasites. * Water turtles may carry Salmonella and are not suitable pets for children 5 yrs and under. Back to Link Guide >>
Marine & Fresh water fish Water quality is essential for healthy fish. Poor water quality is stressfull resulting in an animal that is susceptible to infections. Checking water quality is always the first step when a fish is sick.
Optimum Temp: Fresh 70-75 degrees F, Marine 77 degrees F Light/Dark Cycle: 12-12 hours, cold flourescent bulb pH: below 7.0 is acidic, 7.0 is neutral, above 7.0 is basic/alkaline Fresh water pH: 6.8-7.3, with 7.0 ideal, Marine pH 8- 8.5 with 8.4 is ideal Crowding: Surface area determines the number of fish that can safely live together. Fresh water 1" fish per gallon of water, Marine 1" per 3 gallons of water. Biological Cycle: Fish are fed, food and waste products break down into ammonia, bacteria break the ammonia into nitrates and then nitrates, algae use these up and relese oxygen. The cycle starts over. Ammonia and nitrates are toxic, but high nitrates are the most toxic to fish. Water Quality: problems and immediate 30% to 50% water change. This can be repeated daily until the tank is balanced again. Water replacement must match the temperature, pH and salinity if marine, of the marine , of the original tank water. Increased aeration for 24 hours will also help to balance the water problems. Always dechlorinate first!! Symptoms of bacterial diseases: include pop-eye, cloudy eye, open sores, abcesses, rotting skin, droppsy, rapid breathing, swim bladder disease, ulcers, fin or tail rot. Less obvious are red rim edges or lines in the tail and fins. Broad spectrum or gram negative spectrum antibiotics are most affective, examples include nitrofuran, aureomycin, neomycin sulfate, kanamycin, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, nitrofurazone, nalidixic acid, and metronidazole. Ultraviolet light helps to prevent the spread of disease. Dips can also be useful, saline is used for fresh water fish, and fresh for marine fish in case there are parasites as well. It is best to treat in a separate hospital tank. If this is not possible, follow instructions as the carbon filtration may need to be temporarily discontinued. Scaleless fish such as catfish, sharks and rays are more sensitive and need a lower dose or a totally different medication. Always seek additional advice from your aquatic veterinarian and your local reputable fish dealer when your tank has a bacterial or parasite problem.