Small, Exotic Mammals

Avian + Exotics Center of Nashville cares for many types of exotic mammals, including Ferrets, Gerbils, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Chinchillas, Mice, Rats, Squirrels, Sugar Gliders, Hedgehogs, Prairie Dogs, Wallabies, and Exotic Felines.

Chinchilla

Care Recommendations

  • Complete Physical Examination Every 6-12 Months

  • Yearly Fecal Examinations For Parasites

  • Vaccinations As Recommended

  • Routine Blood Testing

Other Available Services

  • Hospitalization and Surgery

  • Spaying, Neutering

  • Grooming

  • Dentistry

  • Radiology

Common Diseases for Ferrets

  • Viral – distemper, rabies, common cold virus

  • Tumors – insulinoma, adrenal

  • Intestinal – foreign body ingestion, diarrhea, parasites

  • Nervous – weakness, seizures

  • Cardiac – heart disease, heartworms

  • Dermatologic – hair loss, fleas, ear mites

Preventive Care for Ferrets

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months

  • Annual vaccinations for distemper and rabies virus

  • Examination for ear mites, skin infections, fleas as part of the annual physical

  • Symptomatic treatment during cold and flu season, antibiotics as need for infection and to prevent progression to lungs (pneumonia)

  • Annual fecal examination for parasites

  • Strict carnivores; require a diet high in fat and protein, cannot digest fiber, dairy products, fruits, vegetables; avoid carbohydrates and sugar

  • Dental prophylaxis (cleaning and polishing) annually

  • Heartworm and flea prevention

Common Diseases for Hamsters, Gerbils, Mice, Rats

  • Dental problems – gum and cheek trauma from molar overgrowth, hypersalivation, difficulty eating

  • Respiratory infections

  • Dermatologic – hair loss, pruritis, fleas, mites, lice, fungal, hormonal

  • Tumors – skin

  • Urinary tract – infections, bladder stones

  • Diarrhea – infections, wet-tail, parasites

  • Heart Disease

Preventive Care for Hamsters, Gerbils, Mice, Rats

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months

  • Annual dental exam to monitor for molar overgrowth

  • Annual fecal examination for parasites, bacterial infections

  • Fiber in diet is important for proper digestion

  • Exercise to prevent obesity

  • Feed quality pelleted diet

Common Diseases for Guinea Pigs

  • Dietary – lack of vitamin C causing scurvy – weakness, poor digestion, painful joints, muscle loss (including the heart muscle), rough, scaly dry skin, slow healing wounds, softening of bones causing pain and fractures, anemia from loss of iron

  • Dermatologic – hair loss, pruritis, fleas, mites, lice, fungal, hormonal

  • Diarrhea – infections, parasites

  • Respiratory infections

  • Behavioral – stampede causing injury to themselves or others

  • Urinary tract- infections, bladder stones

  • Respiratory infections

Preventive Care for Guinea Pigs

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months

  • Annual dental exam to monitor for molar overgrowth

  • Annual fecal examination for parasites, bacterial infections

  • Fiber in diet is important for proper digestion

  • Exercise to prevent obesity

  • Feed quality pelleted diet

Common Diseases for Rabbits and Chinchillas

  • Dental – gum and cheek trauma from molar overgrowth, hypersalivation, difficulty eating

  • Dermatology – fungus, over-grooming, hair loss

  • Gastrointestinal disorders – diarrhea, colic, bloat, stasis

  • Eye irritation/conjunctivitis

  • Hair ring constricting penis (males)

  • Respiratory infections

  • Heat stress

  • Trauma

Preventive Care for Rabbits and Chinchillas

  • High-fiber, low-residue, low carb diet to prevent dental disease and gastrointestinal problems

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months

  • Annual fecal examination for parasites, bacterial infections

  • Avoid temperatures above 80°F to prevent heat stress

  • Check males monthly for hair rings

Common Diseases for Sugar Gliders

  • Gastrointestinal – diarrhea, parasites, bacterial infection gastroenteritis, constipation/impaction

  • Dietary – protien deficiency causing weight loss, weakness, malnutrition

  • Dermatology – hair loss, pruritis, fleas, lice, mites, infected

  • Stress – over eating, over drinking, pica (eating unusual materials)

  • Dental – overgrowth causing trauma, malnutrition

  • Behavioral – pacing, chewing, self-trauma

  • Neurological – hind limb paralysis

  • Respiratory – Pneumonia

  • Blindness/cataracts (males)

Preventive Care for Sugar Gliders

  • Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals – disrupting sleep patterns for daily play on a regular basis can cause behavioral and stress related complications

  • Feed high quality insectivore diet plus sources of protein and natural sugars

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months

  • Annual dental exam to prevent overgrowth and malnutrition

  • Annual fecal exam for parasites, bacterial infections

  • House at 70°F to prevent heat or cold stress

Assoc Avian Veterinarians
Assoc Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
American Federation of Aviculture
American Veterinary Medical Association
Assoc Avian Veterinarians
Assoc Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
American Veterinary Medical Association
American Federation of Aviculture