So, you’ve decided to add a new small animal to your family. It is important to start your new member out with a clean, bill of health. Whether you obtain your pet from a pet store, breeder, rescue group, or friend, it is important to have your pet health inspected by your local veterinarian. Unlike dogs and cats, small animals tend to have lower health costs due to minimal health related problems. However, as is the case for any pet, practicing regular check-up and prevention is the key to a long and healthy relationship with your furry friend.
Some indications that your pet may need to go to the vet are a runny nose or eyes, lumps or bumps on its body, loose droppings or in the case of hamsters, if the fur under its tail is always wet. If your small pet is not gnawing down its teeth or its nails grow to long, the vet can trim them for you. If in any case, you are unsure of a health related problem, it’s always best to take your pet to a professional vet for a check-up.
In addition, some small animals require a little extra attention and veterinary care. For example, due to the active nature of chinchillas, it is important to examine your pet daily for any sprained or broken bones. Take your chinchilla immediately to the vet if you suspect a problem.
In the case of guinea pigs, a lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Be sure to prevent a vet trip by selecting a guinea pig food that is rich in vitamin C. Guinea pigs are also vulnerable to catching colds from humans, just like ferrets are susceptible to catching the flu from people. However, unlike guinea pigs, ferrets can also suffer from adrenal disease, which can be recognized by hair loss. If you think your pet guinea pig or ferret is suffering from any of the above health problems, it’s important to take your pet to the vet right away.
Finally, all small animals are susceptible to heat stroke. Be sure to keep your small pet’s cage in a cool, shady environment with plenty of air flow and ventilation in hot weather.
To maximize your small animal’s health and lifetime, it is very important to feed your pet a nutritionally-sound diet. Kaytee® offers species’ specific food, hay and treats for your small pet. In addition, the recommended daily feedings are stated on the packaging, making caring for your new pet easy!