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Guiding You on Care During Exotic Pet Exams

At first glance, exotic pets may seem like low maintenance. After all, many of them entertain themselves, but the fact of the matter is that they can be especially sensitive to their environments. In addition to proper housing and nutrition, you must make sure they receive any needed vaccines, preventative medications and other routine veterinary care. At Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana, we’re here to advise our clients in Metairie and surrounding areas on all aspects of their exotic pet’s diet, husbandry, including temperature control, pet exams, hygiene, adequate space, and more.

pet exams

Common Medical Concerns in Exotic Pets

Like traditional pets, exotic ones tend to hide illness or injury but arguably more so. The signs of concern are subtle and prey animals, like small mammals, will do whatever it takes to feign strength. To catch medical problems before they become more of a true medical issue, visit us with your exotic pet(s) for annual pet exams. The following are common medical concerns in some of our various patients:

pet exams


  • Ferrets may develop skin problems, hair loss, dental disease, seizures, disease of the adrenal gland and/or insulinoma. Furthermore, all ferrets should be on a heartworm preventative.
  • Reptiles may have intestinal parasites, may develop metabolic bone disease, experience trouble eating, have seizures, or develop egg laying issues.
  • Rabbits may develop chronic respiratory disease, reproductive tract disorders, abscesses, a variety of dental problems, and gastro-intestinal disorders.
  • Hedgehogs may develop tumors, skin disorders, diarrhea and quill loss.
  • Birds need several preventive services, including DNA sexing, chlamydia testing, as well as regular wing, and nail trims. Common reasons for illness visits are weight loss, respiratory problems and feather destructive behavior.

Questions about exotic pet exams? Reach out and ask us! We’re here to help you on all aspects of your exotic pet’s care.


June B.

Dr. Rich is winner of the Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award, lecturer at many Exotic veterinary conferences, and deeply involved in local area projects. Twenty years have passed and in that time I cannot begin to count the number of rabbits treated there, all with the best of care. My job as a rescuer of rabbits has been made easier with the support of Dr. Rich, Dr. Pence and the Staff.

Rick R.

I have been dealing with the Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic), Dr. Rich and Dr. Pence, since 2006. They are the premier exotics only vet in the Gulf South and one of a small handful that are experienced with chinchillas. Every chinchilla surrendered to us is taken there for a comprehensive wellness check-up. Many have been treated for a variety of conditions, both minor and serious. After having more than 100 chinchillas seen there, I could not be more pleased with the competency, courtesy and caring exhibited by everyone there. Many of our animals are enjoying happier and healthier lives because of Dr. Rich and Dr. Pence.

Tom and Tracey L.

We have been breeders of exotic parrots since 1998. Dr. Rich and staff are our first and only stop to make sure the breeders we buy are healthy. The professionalism of Dr. Rich and his staff far exceed our expectations. Regardless the outcome of the exam we know we can trust the results and advice given by Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic). The clinic is always clean and the staff friendly. We highly recommend all clients set up an appointment to meet Dr. Rich and/or Dr. Pence. Don’t wait until it’s an emergency. Well visits are very important to maintain healthy happy animals. We are very fortunate to have such well respected, professional and caring exotic veterinarians in our area.

Ashley G., DVM

Dr. Rich is the avian expert! The clinic is state of the art, the boarding facility has large, clean cages and the team is very caring. It's with great confidence that I refer my avian patients to Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic).

Karen and Steve M.

My family and I have been associated with Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic) for 14 years now. Dr. Rich has received countless awards for his many accomplishments. He is forward-thinking; always in touch with the latest technology and procedures. His leading edge approach has kept my exotic pets healthy and happy!

Maurice G. and Brenda B.

In June 2013 we opened Bon Temps Ferret Rescue and shortly after contacted Dr. Rich at Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic). Living almost three hours away, we had questions before making the trip with some of our little ones rescued from various situations. Dr. Rich, Dr. Pence and their staff have taken time to return our calls regardless of what day of the week. We have brought in ferrets with varying degrees of medical needs and have always been served in the most professional and caring manner, not only for the ferrets but for us as well in some critical times."

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