More and more people in today’s society are choosing to own exotic pets in addition to or in lieu of the traditional dogs and cats commonly seen in private veterinary practice. Their small size and housing, ease of care, and human-animal bond potential make them the ideal pets.
Emergency critical care and subsequent nursing care can mean the difference between life and death for a beloved pet. Critical care is an integral part of emergency management of disease in zoological species. A high mortality rate is inherent in exotic animal emergency medicine.
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.