Exotic Animal Care Center News
 May/June 2011

Dear Friends,

Santee Alley.  Just the mention of the name makes those of us in the know groan. I haven't been there myself, but I hear the horror stories. It's an area in the Fashion district where people are selling animals illegally on the streets. They sell red ear sliders that are smaller than a quarter and baby bunnies taken from their mamas as soon as their eyes open. Swap meets are another location where this is occurring, and you may see sickly weak parrots for sale, and baby bunnies standing in crowded cages atop their dead siblings. Infant bunnies should be drinking their mother's milk - instead they are offered lettuce and carrots. At this stage they are unable to digest vegetables, and their teeth are too soft to eat hard foods. So they are starving. These animals are exposed to diseases and stress, and most of them will die within a week from this mistreatment.  

Recently we have had an Easter influx of people bringing in these 2 week old baby bunnies. The story is almost always the same - they just got them a few days earlier from Santee Alley or the swap meet, and they hand us a tiny cage with a tiny puff of fur laying on its side, barely breathing.  Sometimes we can save them. Happily we were able to save the last three we saw (one of which is currently available for adoption).  Pictured at left is one of the Santee Alley bunnies that had come to us for care.  It was in poor shape but is doing much better now! 

I'm writing about this today to help raise awareness.  Most of you already know how to care for bunnies properly, and know what to expect, or you know where to find help. I'm asking everyone to spread the information to their coworkers, and to non-animal people, so that maybe we can get the word to spread to that unsuspecting nave young parent that walks by these adorable itty bitty bunnies with her children and decides to purchase one. If you have an interest in helping out by donating time or money, you can contact Bunny World Foundation at www.bunnyworldfoundation.org

Dr. Sari Kanfer


EACC Exotic Pet Fair

It turned out to be a beautiful day for our first annual Exotic Pet Fair on Saturday, March 12.  We had rabbits (Cinnabun is pictured below) and guinea pigs for adoption, a pot-bellied pig, an owl, and a very sweet hedgehog.     




Zooh Corner, Bunny Bunch and Bunny Bunch Boutique, Ferrets Anonymous, LA Pet Rescue, Orange County Cavy Haven and Whittier Narrows Nature Center all joined us on this day. 


Dr. Tiffany Margolin discussed Eastern Medicine for the Western Pet.    We also had a raffle with some awesome prizes. 


If you weren't able to join us this year, we hope you can come next year!


Come See Dr. Kanfer...

Second Annual Bunny Bunch Picnic 

Sunday, May 22, noon to 5 p.m.

Irvine Animal Care Center

Dr. Kanfer will be discussing infectious diseases, including myxomatosis and coccidia

Email caroline@bunnybunch.org for more information. 

EACC Animals for Adoption! 



     Hiro What an adorable little girl!  Very friendly and social, she lives at the clinic and needs a home.  She likes attention and people.  She's a young girl,  about 3 months old.

   Cinnabun is a 5 year old spayed female lionhead, very sweet. Owner had to give her up because he couldn't afford to take care of her - she had a bladder stone and some calcification in her kidneys. Her bloodwork shows her kidneys are functioning fine, & she recovered quickly from her stone removal surgery. 

     Loki:  A male neutered rabbit, reddish tan in color, he was abandoned at Dr. Domotor's Animal House as a baby, with both rear legs fractured. He is very healthy and sweet, and is eager to get a girlfriend. He flirts with and grooms whatever rabbits are penned nearby.

    Isis:  Also abandoned at Domotor's, Isis is a healthy spayed female rabbit, reddish tan, about 2 years old. She is outgoing and friendly. She is a medium sized rabbit with big feet.       
   Peanut:  If you want a cute older bunny that thinks the litter box is just there to hold the hay, then Peanut is for you. He is a 7 year old, neutered brown dwarf with those cute little ears. He was a classroom bunny until his left eye was injured. It healed with a scar, but he doesn't notice.
  Hobo Joe: He was abandoned at another veterinary clinic and was terrified.  His caretaker worked on socialization with him and now Hobo Joe is very friendly, loves to talk and "popcorn".  

Please call us at 626-405-1777 or email Kim if you are interested in any of the animals above. 

photosPhotos of Animals for Adoption
Hobo JoeCinnabun


Mark Your Calendars! 


We have a few conferences coming up for both doctors and some of the staff, so please schedule your exams, surgeries, etc.,  accordingly. 

Dr. Kanfer will be out of the office Friday, May 20, returning on Wednesday, May 25.  Dr. Margolin will be covering for her while she is out of the office.  

Our Offices will be closed Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day.  

We will be closed Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4 so our doctors and some of our staff can attend a ferret conference in Arizona.   The office will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. but no doctors will be in the office.  Staff will be available for medicine refills, hay purchases, and to manage some emergencies.

Dr. Kanfer will be out of the office Thursday, June 30, returning to the office on Tuesday, July 5.  She will be attending a conference in Anaheim along with some of the staff.  Dr. Margolin will be in on most of those days along with some staff. 

Both Dr. Kanfer and Dr. Margolin will be attending an avian, exotic mammal and reptile conference in Seattle beginning Saturday, August 6 through Saturday August 13.  Dr. Margolin will be back in office on Monday, August 15, Dr. Kanfer will be back in on Tuesday, August 16.  The office will be open for medicine refills, hay purchases, and to manage some emergencies.

Dr. Kanfer will be available for phone consults as well as tele-medicine while she is away on any of the above dates.


Needling it Out 

By Tiffany Margolin, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, NAET Certified


In recent years, acupuncture has begun to find its way into mainstream veterinary medicine. Not two days ago I was sitting in an informal meeting with several alternative/integrative medicine practitioners. We were discussing how acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal and homeopathic medicine had made its way, finally, into increasing numbers of veterinary clinics. It seemed to me that the grassroots movement and consumer demand in human medicine had applied pressure to the veterinary industry.

I was a classic example of a Western medicine-trained vet. As a graduate in 1991, it was with great pride that I diagnosed most problems with radiographs and blood testing, and if it wasn't showing up there, it didn't exist. I used the appropriate pills (as directed by the pharmaceutical companies that conducted our seminars) to "fix" the problem.

As I progressed into the inevitable arena of refractory, unresponsive, chronic illnesses, it was alarmingly clear that we were missing a LOT. And we were missing early stages of disease or changes that could indicate the later onset of disease in pets. The occasional oddball veterinarian would mention a brush with acupuncture or chiropractic medicine. There might be a story about ONE animal that they thought benefited.

It wasn't until my own dog was showing obvious signs of stiffness, pain and hesitation to jump, with NO sign on X-rays of arthritis, that I really came on board with the needles. I quietly slipped over to the only local animal hospital performing pet acupuncture regularly.

The first day Spirit had her treatment, she was a changed dog. She trotted, tail up, into the park and leapt into the air after a tennis ball! I felt my guilt ease and my curiosity peak.

Of course pain is what most of us hear about when it comes to the application of acupuncture. However, pain is just a minute segment of what this method can treat. There are a myriad of signs, symptoms and conditions that respond to, in many cases, a combination of needling, herbs and dietary changes. Integrative medicine is just that. There is no way to separate one thing from the other, and diet, lifestyle of the pet and mode of treatment (including conventional and alternative) all combine for the best outcome.

Speaking of combining, one of the more common areas of feedback I hear is that acupuncture doesn't "hold." Well, that is extremely dependent on the condition being treated. I was just reading about intervertebral disc disease. This occurs when there is actual breakdown of disc material in the back, and the disc collapses, bulges or calcifies and causes extreme spinal pain or paralysis of the legs. As you can imagine, this is usually classified as surgical, since material is actually moving against the spinal cord and needs to be removed.

However, in many cases owners do not want to subject their beloved pet to surgery, or would like to exhaust other options prior to this one. Although the needles will not actually penetrate the disc space or get near the spinal cord, acupuncture can still be very effective in some cases. If Fido responds, as long as you are consistent about follow-up with regular treatments (a lot better than surgery if it works!), then the results will often "hold." If they do not, this is an indicator that surgery will be necessary.

In addition to acupuncture, combining several modalities will often strengthen and prolong good results. A great complement to needling is the application of veterinary orthopedic manipulation (VOM), a nontraumatic activator technique adapted from human chiropractic. This method uses a spring-loaded activator to stimulate and rehabilitate the blood supply to the spinal cord and discs. Sometimes if acupuncture doesn't achieve the desired result, VOM is used, or vice versa. More often, they can be synergistic and result in a better outcome when used in conjunction.

When combining treatment modalities, sometimes pet owners want something even less "invasive" or physical than the above treatments. I may recommend the application of alpha wave technology. This technology uses low frequency sound waves, applied to the body in various areas, to act as "electroacupuncture." There are no needles and no current is applied. Rather, the sound waves stimulate your pet's brain to produce alpha waves. These are the healing waves mammals produce when they sleep. They stimulate endorphins, relaxation and generally promote tissue repair and healing.

Now this information is not intended to steer you away from having a necessary surgery. If your pet has a fractured leg or ruptured tendon, surgery is very important-it reconnects the pieces. Alpha-sonic and acupuncture technology can then be used to speed healing immensely, as a form of physical therapy. VOM is also a very effective way to minimize muscle spasms in the back and to lower the risk of a disc problem during post-operative recovery.

In cases of organ malfunction, acupuncture gets very specific and the application of Chinese medicine principals becomes even more apparent. Customized herbs and dietary changes must often be implemented, along with regular needle application and the monitoring of blood results.

Courses in acupuncture are being taught more widely in veterinary schools and chapters on acupuncture are now found in many veterinary texts. There is a great difference in the approach Chinese medicine takes to problems as compared to Western medicine. Even the same problem in different animals may be treated quite differently by the acupuncturist. As Chinese medicine deals with the body as a whole, treatment also addresses the whole body or "constitution," correcting at various levels the imbalances detected. Thus, as the body comes into balance, the specific signs, symptoms and "problem" should respond and ultimately, resolve.

Realize that acupuncture is a cumulative treatment modality. It can often take several initial treatments to ascertain how well your pet will respond. The sessions may take from 15 to 30 or more minutes. The good news is that, in the hands of a certified and trained practitioner, your pet should have no discomfort and will actually be quite relaxed following these sessions.

One of the most important things to remember is to seek an integrative veterinarian who is aligned with your philosophy and will work with you to find a whole-body approach to your pet's problem. This way, you and Fido will live longer and healthier together.

Contributions to EACC
We are always getting in local wildlife that needs our help and in these cases, EACC pays for the care and medications to make these animals well again.  Additionally, we have a few individuals who are struggling to cover their EACC bills, as well as rescue organizations whose bills mount up quickly helping rescued and homeless animals.


If you have a few dollars or more to spare, EACC welcomes donations to help cover the costs of care for these animals.  We appreciate any help you can give.  Thank you!


Keep Up to Date and Learn About Exotics Through EACC's Blog!


We will be posting bi-monthly about exotic animal care topics, what's happening at the clinic and more!  Go to http://exoticpetblog.wordpress.com.

Thank You for Supporting Exotic Animal Care Center!  We truly appreciate you and your precious pets!

2121 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91107