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Exotic Pet Spay and Neuter

When people think of pet spay and neuter, they generally think of cats and dogs. As an avian, rabbit, rat, other small mammal or reptile pet owner, we want you to know that it’s just as important to get your pet spayed or neutered. Many female exotic pets can develop life-threatening medical conditions if they’re not spayed. Many male exotic pets have chronic behavioral problems if they’re not neutered. Exotic pet spay and neuter surgery protects your feathery, furry and scaly baby from cancer, cysts and worrisome urine spraying. At Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana, we’re proud to offer this valuable procedure for the exotic pets of Metairie and the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area.

spay and neuter

Spaying Your Female Bird

Female birds can lay many eggs with or without a male bird present. Chronic egg-laying can cause harm to the health of many female birds. Egg-laying requires large amounts of calcium, which can be lacking in the diets of most pet birds. We recommend you have all birds tested for gender during a wellness exam. This procedure requires a simple blood test. An avian hysterectomy can prevent many issues for the chronic egg layer, but it can be a risky surgery, and we usually reserve this procedure for those who medically need it. A salpingectomy (avian hysterectomy) can help prevent many serious health issues such as:

  • An egg getting lodged in their oviduct, preventing it from passing.
  • Reproductive tract infections.
  • An egg rupturing in their stomach.
  • Bone fractures from chronic low calcium levels.
spay and neuter

Spaying and Neutering Your Rabbit

Rabbits are very productive breeders and can have up to 14 babies in one litter. It’s important to spay your female pet rabbit, because they have a much greater chance of developing uterine, ovarian or mammary cancer when they’re kept “intact.” Getting female rabbits spayed also prevents aneurisms from endometriosis. Neutering a male rabbit can curtail urine spraying, mounting and aggressive behavior. Male rabbits are more likely to develop testicular cancer if they’re not neutered. The best time to get your rabbit “fixed” is at six-months of age as this prevents these issues from occurring.

Keeping Other Exotic Pets Healthy

Exotic pet spay and neuter is important for other pets as well. Unspayed female ferrets will produce excessive amounts of estrogen that cause other serious health problems. Female green iguanas, bearded dragons, or chameleons can develop life threatening reproductive diseases if they become a chronic egg layer or are not metabolically healthy. Male guinea pigs who are left “intact” are much more aggressive, due to their heightened testosterone levels. Female rats are prone to developing mammary and/or uterine cancer if left intact after 6 months of age.

Please contact us with any questions about our exotic pet spay and neuter surgery. We’re always excited to serve the exotic pet community of Louisiana.


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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