Exotic Animal Care Center News
 July/August 2011

Dear Friends,

Shedding. Most of us consider shedding a minor problem, merely a nuisance. Can you believe that shedding can lead to a rabbit's death? In the past year, I have treated hundreds of rabbits for GI stasis. And over 90% of them had been shedding right before they stopped eating. Sometimes we catch it early enough that a dose of pain meds, intestinal stimulants, and syringe feeding can quickly help them feel better and get them started eating again. But many times a small chunk of hair gets stuck in the small intestine and causes the stomach to fill up with food, fluid and gas. This bloated condition is very painful and life threatening. Bloated rabbits go into shock; body temperature drops, normal blood flow is altered, bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream, and the kidneys and liver shutdown. Intensive treatment is necessary and involves intravenous fluids and pain medication, aggressive warming, and sometimes we have to empty the stomach using a tube through the nose or mouth. Some cases require surgery to remove the blockage. Most rabbits survive, but some do not. In addition, this treatment can be quite expensive.

What steps can you take to avoid this problem?  Groom your bunnies whenever they are shedding and administer a hairball laxative - give one inch orally once a day while shedding. Most bunnies like the taste and will lick the gel off of your finger or a plate. If your rabbit refuses, wipe the gel on his front paw and he will have to lick it off. You can find grooming supplies and hairball remedies at pet stores and rabbit rescue groups.  We also carry hairball laxative here at EACC. 

It is critical that you monitor your rabbit's appetite every day. Make sure your rabbit is eating several times a day. Call us immediately or an emergency veterinary facility if your rabbit has any change in appetite - your rabbit needs to be examined asap. The sooner we catch problems, the better chance we have to save your bunny.

Dr. Sari Kanfer

Myxomatosis - What You Need to Know

Myxomatosis is a contagious virus with no proven methods of treatment and it has a 99% mortality rate--so we wanted to give you all a heads up as to what signs to look for, what to do if you suspect your rabbit has it, and how to take preventative measures. The following link contains good basic information on all aspects of the virus and we encourage you all to read it. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=18+1803&aid=3422.


If you notice your rabbit behaving differently: not eating, lethargic, 'spaced out,' drinking excess amounts of water-or there is any swelling around the eyes, ears, nose, mouth or genitals-treat the rabbit as if he or she IS contagious (as outlined in the above link) and contact your rabbit vet, immediately.   Make sure to tell whatever vet you call that you suspect Myxomatosis.


Sudden death is also suspicious for Myxomatosis. Should this occur, contact your rabbit vet to have your rabbit tested. A lung tissue sample can be sent to a lab for diagnosis. Make sure to wrap the body in a closed plastic bag to help prevent spread of this virus.  This virus is non-zoonotic--not contagious to humans. Other non-rabbit animals are also safe.


Wild cottontail rabbits are carriers of the virus, but do not become sick.  The virus is transmitted by mosquitos and fleas; when the insect bites an infected rabbit it carries the virus on its mouthparts and then infects the next rabbit it bites.  The only way to fully protect your rabbit is to keep it indoors and protected from insects during warm months.  You can also use mosquito netting and citronella candles.   Topical flea products that are rabbit safe, like Revolution, will kill fleas and fur mites, and may help prevent virus spread via fleas.


In addition, be sure you do not have any "standing water" in your yard, as this is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Treating your yard and around the outside of your home is also suggested. Make sure not to treat areas where bunnies can go, as most pesticides are deadly.  In addition, one of the clinic's clients has recommended a product called "Mosquito Barrier" .  You can find out more by visiting the website for this product, www.mosquitobarrier.com or at Amazon.com.


(Thanks to Cat and Zooh Corner for letting us borrow some of this info from you!)

For the Birds

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


Assessing your bird for signs of being "under the weather" can be challenging, to say the least. First of all, birds are little wild animals. This means they are not like your dog, a domesticated pet that acts like a little kid when it's sick and well, might even whine. 

Birds, on the other hand, are a prey animal. Because any sign of weakness will alert a predator of a potentially available snack, these small animals cannot afford to reveal it when they don't feel well. So even though you have Polly safely in a warm, cozy house away from the jungle, her system only knows that masking illness could save her life. Unfortunately, a pet bird concealing an illness may not get your attention until it is very, very sick. This is why when we as veterinarians see them, they are often in an advanced stage of disease. It's not really that they are all that delicate, as it may seem. "He just got sick yesterday, doc" and now you are told he is dying. Most likely your little feathered friend has been braving it through a health problem for quite a while, and finally couldn't "fake it" any more.


These are some things you should know in order to detect illness EARLY in your birdy, and this is the time to bring him/her to the vet:


  1. When you first get a bird, BRING IT TO THE VET as you would a puppy or kitten. No matter what the pet store or breeder says, there is no way to assess its health without a qualified avian vet's professional evaluation.
  2. NEVER put a new bird in with other birds before quarantining and taking it to the vet for a clean bill of health. I have seen more than a few incidences of a single new bird causing disease in an entire flock that was previously healthy.
  3. Watch and observe your bird at home to familiarize yourself with what is normal for THAT BIRD. Each parrot species will be different, and what is normal behavior for a cockatoo is different than that of a parakeet.
  4. Notice the color and consistency of stools and the urine /urate color. If the urates become yellow or green tinged or stools change from what they "used to look like" for more than a day, bring your bird to the vet. You can get a good stool sample by placing wax paper at the bottom of the cage.
  5. Any decrease in vocalization, change in voice, excess preening, change in stools, change in appetite, feather loss, overgrowth of beak or nails, are all reasons to get in as soon as possible. Any sitting "low" or "fluffing" is cause for concern.
  6. Nutrition is a cornerstone of bird health. Become an expert on your bird's ideal nutrition by consulting with your avian vet. Even better, let your vet help you to choose the right bird for you and your family BEFORE rushing out and purchasing one.

Have a happy and healthy time with your feathered friend and don't hesitate to call EXOTIC ANIMAL CARE CENTER for any questions before or after you get your bird! 

EACC Animals for Adoption! 



     Hiro What a handsome little boy!  Very friendly and social, he lives at the clinic and needs a home.  He likes attention and people.  He's a young,  about 6 months old. 

   Butch: Butch is a handsome, 5 year old calico lop. His loving owners are being evicted, and sadly need to find a home for him. He recently lost his girlfriend and is looking for love. He has minor dental problems but is otherwise healthy. 

   Taz the Parrot: Taz is an owner relinquished baby amazon parrot.  He went from being tube fed to now eating on his own.  Isn't he adorable? 

  Dart (D'Artagnan): Dart is a gorgeous silvered black Jersey Woolly, about 3 years old and neutered. He is very inquisitive and explores everything, and loves to race across the house. 

    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".  

   Cinnabun  She is a 5 year old, spayed, cute little brown lionhead.  Her owner had to give her up because he couldn't afford the surgery to remove her bladder stone. Cinnabun recovered from her surgery and is now healthy and eager to get a new home.    

     Naughty: She is a beautiful, healthy blue-eyed white rabbit that isn't as naughty as her name suggests. She loves to race around the house and is looking for a partner to play with. Naughty is about 4 years old and is spayed.

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 Joe Cinnabun

hiroHiro  Naughty

 Dart  Taz



  Mark Your Calendars!  

Both Dr. Kanfer and Dr. Margolin will be attending an avian, exotic mammal and reptile conference in Seattle beginning Friday, August 5 through Thursday, August 11.  Dr. Margolin will be back in office on Saturday, August 13, Dr. Kanfer will be back in on Friday, August 12.  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.




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!

Senate Bill 917 is Signed into Law! 


This is great news for all animals, especially the all-too-familiar Santee Alley baby bunnies sold in downtown Los Angeles!  Please email Senator Ted Lieu and thank him for introducing the bill and fighting to make sure it passed and also to Governor Brown for signing the bill.  Believe it or not, there was much opposition to the bill by rabbit and dog breeders and canine AKC clubs, etc...  


Please let them know how thankful we are for their efforts.  The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2012! 


State Senator Ted Lieu: 




Governor Jerry Brown: 



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


We will be posting 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