Respiratory disease in small exotic mammals is caused by a variety of etiologies but infectious causes predominate. Both upper and lower airway disease is seen and in rabbits and rodents, animals that are obligate nasal-breathers, upper respiratory disease can be as problematic as lower airway disease.
For the dog and cat veterinarian, making the transition to include exotic companion mammals in the practice caseload is not difficult. The extent of special equipment needed varies with the degree to which the veterinarian plans to pursue this field of interest.
Cytology is a diagnostic tool that may be utilized on a daily basis in veterinary practice as it allows for quick answers with minimum of expense. The goal as a veterinary practitioner with a special interest in cytology is not always to make a definitive diagnosis based on cytologic results, but to help narrow the number of diagnoses on the differential list and give information on prognosis and help direct the formulation of a diagnostic and treatment plan.
State-of-the-art improvements in how we feed and provide medical and surgical care for the pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has resulted in a greater lifespan for this beloved family pet. The rabbit is the most popular exotic patient seen in the author's small animal and exotics practice and many rabbit owners are dedicated to the health and well-being of their pets and expect the best in medical care.
An excellent resource for information on the testing, treatment, zoonotic and legal implications of this disease can be found in the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) Psittacosis Compendium (www.nasphv.org).
The group of animals commonly referred to as "fish" is a paraphyletic group of some 30,000-plus described species (www.fishbase.org). That is, it includes all of the descendants of the common ancestor of the vertebrates (subphylum Vertebrata) with the exception of the tetrapods (subclass Tetrapoda–amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, totaling around 23,000 species), a fairly significant branch of the subclass Sarcopterygii alongside lungfish and coelacanths.