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 and other 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 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 issues before they become more of an issue, visit us with your exotic pet for annual pet exams.

The following are common medical concerns in some of our various patients:

  • Ferrets may develop skin problems, hair loss, dental disease, seizures, and insulinoma and adrenal gland disorders.
  • Reptiles may develop metabolic bone disease, experience trouble eating, seizures, and egg issues.
  • Rabbits may develop chronic respiratory disease, urinary tract disorders, abscesses, tooth decay, and gum disease.
  • Hedgehogs may develop masses, skin disorders, and quill loss.
  • Birds need several preventive services, including DNA sexing, chlamydia testing, as well as regular beak, wing, and nail trims. Common reasons for illness visits are bound eggs and feather plucking.
pet exams

Bring Samples to Your Exotic Pet Exam

Good husbandry and daily care of exotic pets are a large portion of what makes them healthy. When their nutrition or housing is not ideal, it can affect their behavior and health. Before the exotic pet exams, take pictures of your pet’s cage, aquarium, and general living space. This will enable us to assess whether they have adequate stimulation, space, and proper bedding. Also bring samples of your pet’s food and try to gather a fecal sample. For birds, lay clean paper at the bottom of their cage to bring to their visit. For reptiles and mammals, use a small plastic bag to gather a stool sample expelled in the previous 24 hours.

Questions about 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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