Grooming and nursing care of exotic pets

  • Grooming

–Nail clipping

–Wing clipping

–Ear cleaning

–Rear inspection

–Note about hair clipping

  • Nursing care

–Oral administration of drugs

–Injections

–Blood sample

–IV catheter and IO catheter

–Notes about bandages

  • Keep the material to use at the ready

Remember handling techniques

You must master handling’s techniques

Strong body odour of ferrets

  • Entire male ferret +++

à Keratomodulator and rehydrating shampoo

à Environment hygiene: esp. Sleeping area

à Surgical or chemical neutering to discuss

Bird shower or bath

Mandatory

Daily when hygrometry is too low (esp. Winter because of heating)

Need to be learnt for some individuals

Bath, shower or sprays with only water, no shampoo

Cloacal bath

Especially important in chelonians, because their bladder is a water storage. Cloacal bath will promote hydration, stool emission and stimulate drinking

We also use it in snakes and lizards (shedding trouble, to stimulate stool emission)

Around 2 to 4 cm of warm water (warm it like POTZ) during 30 min

Nail clipping of small mammals

First, handle them carefully

So they can not hurt themselves

Second

Hold the limb firmly

Observe the nail and locate the vein

Cut not closer than 2-3mm (it can be painful even if

it is not bleeding

Bird's nail trimming

It is possible to clip the nail with handling or in a tamed bird, and without anesthesia. Do not cut too short because the vein is usually present in almost all the lenght of the nail

If you can anesthetize, esp. Bigger birds with black claw, trimming is the prefer way to do it

  • Wing clipping

–Prevent the bird to take off but will hover

–Start slightly. Cut more if needed–

Never cut only one wing

Cut symmetrically both wings, six to eight feathers

Don’t cut pin feather (pulp will bleed +++)

Ear cleaning

In rabbits, scabies is possible but common in companion (more in rabbits from farm)

Lop-eared rabbits require weekly ear cleaning

Ferrets have normal brown to black cerumen

Auricular scabies is also common

It is advised to clean the ears monthly

Administration of oral meds

« Confirmed administration »: prefer injection or oral route to insure that the patient receives the appropriate dose of medication.

If meds are done via drinkwater or food, to a sick animals, it is possible that he did not consumed what we gave: compliance is not guaranteed.

It leads to therapeutic failure and complications.

Ferrets like to lick a warm liquid of appetent food

Sometimes, it is useful to mix the medications with little quantities of food (be sure evrything is consumed)

Be carfeul with food aversion

Rabbits and rodents need to he handled with a towel

Introduce the syringe gently laterally and behind the incisors (they have non canine)

Inject slowly, let them swallow

Make a break when they need and finish 5 minutes later

Orogastric administration of med or food in Birds

  • Never give a med or food directly into the mouth with a syringe (except young handreared parrot, but be sure everything is consumed)
  • Use an orogastric tube: plastic (raptors) or metal (more rigid and can not ne broken into the crop – to prefer in Parrots because strong beak)
  • Measure it so you are sure it is the biggest diameter possible and it goes into the crop, not only oesophagus
  • Lubricate your tube
  • Hold the head firmly
  • Extend the neck
  • Open the mouth with the tube or metal speculum
  • Visualize trachea
  • Follow dorsal part of the mouth and enter in the oesophagus on the right side of the neck
  • Inject slowly through the tube and check for regurgitation
  • Do not handle the patient after force feeding

Orogastric administration of med or food in Reptiles

-Never give a med or food directly into the mouth with a syringe

-Use an orogastric tube: plastic (snake) or metal (more rigid and can not ne broken into the Reptiles’stomach – to prefer in chelonians and lizards)

-Measure it so you are sure it goes into the stomach, not only oesophagus

-Chelonians: btw the middle and the end of the cranial part of the plastron

-Lizards: median distance btw limbs

-Snakes: the cranial portion of the second third of the total length

-Lubricate your tube

-Hold the Reptiles firmly

-Extend the neck

–Hold the head firmly

–Open the mouth with the tube or metal speculum

–Visualize trachea

–Follow dorsal part of the mouth and enter in the oesophagus on th right side of the neck

–Inject slowly through the tube and check for regurgitation

–Do not handle the patient after force feeding

  • Grooming and nursing care are very important for well-being and health status of exotic pets
  • Do not forget to help the owner with demonstration.