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At the Veterinary Center, our veterinarians and technicians take a great deal of time advising you about the best diet you can feed your bird, ferret, rabbit, rodent (guinea pig, chinchilla, hamster, gerbil, rat, mouse, degu), reptile (lizard, snake, turtle, tortoise), sugar glider, hedgehog, amphibian, or exotic pet.
Recommendations for proper bird and exotic pet nutrition are species-specific and are constantly changing as we learn more about all of these unique animals. With all this ongoing research on exotic pet diets, you cannot rely on potentially outdated information printed in books or on the recommendations of certain uninformed pet store employees. At the Veterinary Center, we pride ourselves in keeping current with the most up-to-date recommendations for exotic pet nutrition so that we can pass those recommendations on to you.
For most domesticated birds, the Veterinary Center staff recommends that a large percentage of the bird’s diet be composed of commercially available pelleted products. However, even well-intentioned bird owners sometimes have difficulty transitioning their birds from what is often a high-fat, low-nutrient seed diet or a diet containing an excessive amount of human table food (even containing lots of fruits and vegetables) to a more balanced pelleted diet. As a result, the Veterinary Center offers The Great Pellet Exchange, a customized program designed to help bird owners convert their domestic bird from a poor seed and table food diet to a more nutritious diet containing a balance of pellets, table food, and nutritious treats.
This program is only suited for healthy birds, and a complete physical examination, and recent blood work is required in order to assess a bird’s suitability for the program. This program involves a week of personalized attention to your bird as he or she stays at the Veterinary Center, careful monitoring of your bird’s weight and energy level as he or she is transitioned to the pelleted food, as well as a detailed explanation and support for you as to how to keep your bird on this nutritious diet once he or she returns home. We know how hard it can be to get your bird or other exotic pet to try new foods; the Great Pellet Exchange makes that whole process simpler, faster, and less stressful for both you and your pet.
Are you frustrated with your exotic pet’s behavior? Is it ruining your relationship with your pet? If so, change it! The Veterinary Center provides behavior counseling for bird or other exotic pets that demonstrate repeated problem behaviors such as biting, screaming, self-destructive behavior, and other issues. Working with exotic pet behavior issues is one of Dr. Hess’ special interests, so at the Veterinary Center, she offers a full behavior modification program for all birds or other exotic pets that have first undergone a complete physical examination and appropriate blood and stool testing to help rule-out any underlying medical problems.
This program is based in on proven scientific methods, rather than on instant cures or magic bullets that really do not work long term. The goal is to focus on one problem behavior and to teach you the tools to change it, so that you can use these tools again in the future to deal with other problem behaviors if they arise. With practice, you can master these techniques and significantly improve the quality of your relationship with your bird or other exotic pet.