We put together a list of frequently asked questions from avian and exotic pet owners over the years. If you have specific questions regarding your pet, don’t hesitate to call or complete the contact form.
A balanced diet and proper nutrition will lead your ferret to a long, active, and healthy life. Ferrets are strict carnivores; they require diets based on highly digestible animal (meat) protein with little to no carbohydrates. If you choose to feed dry food, choose high quality ferret or cat/kitten foods sold by pet stores with at least 36% protein, that is moderate in fats (approximately 20%) and low in carbohydrates. Ferrets have short digestive tracts and fast metabolisms which dictate that they must eat often. Many ferret owners give their pets full-time food access.
In captivity, chinchillas need a simple, dry and bland diet. This diet consists of fresh water, quality pellets, and hay. Water or pellet consumption does not need to be limited. They can also have access to hay at all times. Chinchillas will not over eat their basic diet, but they will indulge in treats and unhealthy items, so treats should only be offered one to three times a week.
Sugar gliders in the wild have very specific dietary needs, and a glider raised in captivity is no different. There is no generic “glider food” as there is with cats and dogs. Sugar glider owners are advised to put together a diet of variety and nutrition, providing them with the food and vitamins they need to live long, healthy lives. Primarily, gliders need a diet that is high in protein, moderate fat, low phosphorus, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. TPG vitamins, which contain essential calcium important to their diet, are often added to their fruits, veggies and protein.
No. A sugar glider does not need vaccinations and is not a typical carrier of disease. With a healthy diet and clean environment, a glider should rarely become ill. However, they can become ill for some of the same reasons as other animals. Here are preventive recommendations:
Complete physical examination every 6-12 months
Annual dental exam to prevent overgrowth and malnutrition
Annual fecal exam for parasites and potential bacterial infections
Polyomavirus is one of the most feared, and often most misunderstood, viral infections of pet birds. This virus can infect many speciesof birds including pet parrots, finches, canaries, and chickens. Budgerigars (parakeets), eclectus parrots, macaws, conures, lovebirds, caiques, and ring-necked parakeets are considered particularly susceptible to infection. While polyomvirus is typically considered a disease of very young birds, adult birds can become infected and become carriers of the disease. These carrier birds, though they show no clinical signs ofillness, are thought to be responsible for transmitting the disease to other birds. Transmission occurs via contact with contaminated feces, feather dander, crop contents or other aerosolized particles.
Reactions to the vaccine are not common, but they can occur. The most commonly observed reaction is a yellowish discoloration of the skin or formation of a small lump at the site of the shot. These signs usually go away without treatment over a period of three to six weeks. Rarely, more serious reactions may occur, including the formation of a cyst or mass at the site of vaccination that requires medical or surgical treatment. Again, these types of reactions are rare. Any reaction should be reported to the vet to determine if treatment is needed.
Accreditation & Affiliation
Avian + Exotics Center of Nashville is a full service veterinary facility promoting the health and wellness of all exotic species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. We are the only veterinary medical facility in middle Tennessee serving an exclusively avian and exotic clientele. We work in partnership with other area veterinary clinics by providing a place to refer clients in need. Our unique treatment center offers specialized care to all manner of exotic species in a welcoming environment.