A Veterinarian for Your Exotic Petvet clinic lizard

If you are looking for a veterinarian for your exotic pet, you will find Dr. Victoria Crabtree at our Advance Animal Care Richmond location to help you take care of just about any pet you have. This is great news for those of us who love animals and enjoy the company of unconventional pets.  Special animals require special care and it’s nice to know when you have a concern about your pet you have somewhere to turn to.

Pet Wildlife

It is both dangerous and illegal in our state to keep wildlife as pets without licensing from the appropriate authorities. If you find an injured wild animal, we recommend contacting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice. 

Exotic Pets

Today there are many different types of exotic pets.  Ferrets, Sugar Gliders and Chinchillas are only a few of the exotic pets out there.  Providing for exotic pets requires lots of learning about their unique needs and spending time and money providing the necessary habitat and nutrition. Just like with a dog or cat, regular visits to a veterinarian can help keep your exotic pet healthy for years to come. 

Reptiles and Amphibians

Caring for a reptile or amphibian as a pet requires a good bit of knowledge about what your particular pet needs to remain healthy.  Your veterinarian for exotic pets can help you in the event you notice something going wrong with your pet.  Accidents, injuries, disease and infections are only some of the problems you may encounter.

Featured Quote:

Whenever you're giving them food, one protein source you should avoid is lightning bugs.

Video Transcript:

Hi, everyone. This is Dr. Crabtree at Advanced Animal Care in Richmond. I'm here with Razzleberry today. This is our 10-month-old female bearded dragon. She's fairly new to our family here. She was obtained about four to five months ago.


What should you do when you first get a bearded dragon?


The most important thing to do when you first get a bearded dragon is to quarantine them, especially if you have other bearded dragons in your house. You want to make sure they don't have any diseases that they can give to your other bearded dragons, so you want to make sure they're happy and healthy when they first get home. You also want to make sure that they don't spread other diseases like salmonella. Salmonella is a disease that can be contracted and given to humans, especially small children and immuno-compromised people. It can cause diarrhea and actually need hospitalization, so it's important to handle with care.


What can you do to avoid getting salmonella?


Salmonella is actually excreted in their feces, but it's not just their feces that you should be aware of. They can also track it on their skin, where they walk in their feces in their cage, so if you put them down on a surface like this, it's important to wipe it down with bleach or a Clorox wipe after they're gone. It's also important not to put them on carpet because it can be difficult to get out of, and of course, after handling them and putting them back in their cage, you want to make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly.


What are some things that you should know before you purchase a bearded dragon?


It's really important with any exotic pet to be well-researched before you get these pets. A lot of them have different needs that need to be prepared for before you get them. You don't want to have the wrong cage and then get home and it be too small. You don't want to get the wrong food and then not eat it when you get home, so it's really important to know what you're getting yourself into before you bring these little guys home.


This is Razzleberry's aquarium, or Razzleberry's home, so it's important to discuss environment whenever you come in for your annual wellness visit because we want to make sure we're in an appropriately sized cage, and that we have good enrichment inside of our cage. One of the big things for these guys is size. Razzleberry is getting bigger, so eventually, she will need a bigger cage. Right now, this is about a 10-gallon. Eventually, we're going to need a 75-gallon aquarium, just to make sure that we have enough size. It is really important to also talk about the lighting. As you can see at the top here, we do have three separate lights. The one on the left is a UVB light. That is to simulate daylight and also help with a disease called metabolic bone disease.


The second light is our heat lamp. It's important for them to have good temperatures inside of their aquarium. You want to make sure that it's about 80 to 85 degrees, with a basking area such as this canopy here that is about 90 degrees or above. You don't want it to be too hot, and you don't want it to be too cold, either. The third light is our nightlight, and it is the purple light on the right. It won't be on right now, since it's not nighttime, but this is basically the to simulate their nighttime.


Another important thing to discuss is the terrain at the bottom. As you see here, it's just a flat terrain. It doesn't have any substrate or anything like that. They are desert-dwelling animals, but you don't want to put sand or gravel or anything like that at the bottom because sometimes they can ingest it and it can get stuck in their intestines, and then they can get really sick. Another thing to discuss is water. Even though they are desert-dwelling animals, they do need a lot of water, especially in a dish like this one. It is a shallow dish, that way they can also bathe in it when it's time for shedding. They also do like to defecate in their water bowl, so it's important to change it daily.


They also need certain enrichment, like you see here we have a log, and they have a hiding log as well. This log here is important because they can climb to whatever temperature they think is best for them, that way they can choose and they're not stuck at one temperature next to the light.


Diet is also really important for bearded dragons. One of the key staples to their diet is about 50% of their diet should be dark leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce. We don't want to use iceberg lettuce. Another one is, have about 20% of other vegetables like squash or zucchini. And only about 5% of the diet should be fruits and things like that.


Another big part of their diet is protein. About 25% of their diet should be protein, such as crickets. But with any part of their diet, anything should be dusted with calcium or their protein source should be gut-loaded with calcium. If you saw in the cricket cage, there is some food inside of it. That food actually has a lot of calcium supplementation inside of it, so that the crickets are ingesting a lot of calcium, so that they can give calcium to the bearded dragons.


And also, another thing, whenever you're giving them food, one protein source you should avoid is lightning bugs. Even though they could be a good enrichment source, they can actually be toxic to bearded dragons. One important thing to be researched on whenever you get a pet like a bearded dragon is to make sure you know the common diseases that can happen whenever you bring them home so you know what to look for in case they get sick. One big thing is metabolic bone disease. This happens when they don't have a good light source or they don't have enough calcium in their diet. Basically what happens is their bone density decreases and their bones become brittle and can break. They also don't grow the way that they should, so if you notice your bearded dragon is small, it could mean that they have a nutritional problem at home with not eating enough or that they do have an issue and should be brought in.

The Veterinarian For Your Exotic Pet

Being qualified to provide veterinary services for exotic pets requires extra experience and education that not every veterinarian is willing to do.  Advanced Animal Care is proud to have a doctor on staff who is both qualified and experienced in offering veterinary services to many different animals and pets. 

If you have an exotic pet or an unusual pet in your care, call our Richmond office at (859) 202-3641 or schedule an appointment and they will be happy to help you keep your pet in the best health possible.

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