Exotic Animal Care Center News
Winter 2013

Dear Friends,


Holiday time!! It really snuck up on us this year. As you decorate your home for the holidays, be careful that your pet doesn't get into trouble. Make sure the Christmas tree lights cannot be reached and chewed. Bunnies love to eat the pine needles, but if the tree is treated, that may be toxic. And if you are using something in the tree's water to keep it fresh, the water may be toxic for your pet.


While cooking, be it for the holidays or otherwise, make sure your bird is secure and doesn't come flying into the kitchen to play with you. And make sure your bird or ferret doesn't steal any brightly colored small toys or ornaments that would be dangerous if swallowed; helping you wrap and unwrap presents, and playing with the boxes and paper should be fine (make sure there aren't any staples).


As the temperature drops, make sure your reptiles and birds stay warm, and it's a good time to bring those outdoor rabbits indoors. If you are going out of town, definitely find someone responsible to watch over your pet to make sure it stays warm and is eating and acting normally.


Happy Holidays!


Dr. Sari Kanfer


  Exotic Animal Care Adoptables 




is a beautiful spayed black lionhead rabbit, born around October 2011. She had a difficult early life-her owners allowed her to waste away with a severe mite infestation. She was emaciated and weak when she came into Kanfer Rescue. After much treatment and love she has become a sweet, beautiful and happy bunny! Trinity is looking for a nice handsome boy bunny to bond to.









Puddin' is a petite brown girl bunny, born around May 2013. She was found with a fractured back. It has healed and she is able to run and hop and do binkies. The only remaining sign is mild weakness of one rear leg. She is a little bit of a special needs bunny but she is so loving that she's well worth it! 












C.C. is a neutered male born late in 2011 and was brought to Kanfer Rescue because his owners were unable to afford the amputation surgery required for his broken hind right leg. Kanfer Rescue has performed the amputation and C.C. is ready to go to his forever home. He has proven himself to be a very laid-back bunny that loves to relax in your arms, upside down! He currently is a bachelor because he has not found his forever friend, but would be equally content remaining alone. 


was born around March 2013.  She is an adorable bunny with apricot markings, and she's very energetic and playful! Savannah has been spayed and is ready for a loving family.










Buzz Lightyear, a bearded dragon, was rescued by a client because he was at a home that did not know about reptiles and the care they required, and was also being mistreated by young children. Buzz was malnourished and because of his lack of calcium and proper lighting, he has a permanent arm deformity. Buzz was born around September 2012. His husbandry has been corrected by Kanfer Rescue and he is ready for his forever home.











David was dropped off at Kanfer Rescue one day with all his belongings. No note was left with David. He appears to be healthy and is estimated to be about a year old.  David is a special needs rat.  He is a bit nippy and needs special handling.










Turtledove is an extremely cuddly bunny! She prefers to be held daily, as much as possible. She enjoys exploring and begging for attention. Turtledove is a 2 1/2 year old spayed female rabbit. She had a tooth root abscess that has been treated, and her dental issues are mild.  If adopted, Turtledove's future costs of dental care will be heavily discounted. Turtle just wants someone to love her! And how can you resist those baby blue eyes!



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



Ferrets and Adrenal Disease

By Dr. Stephanie Lamb, DVM



Ferrets can be fun, feisty and furry but they can also be full of health problems! When it comes to ferrets, there are several diseases we commonly see that cause problems. One of the more common problems we encounter is adrenal disease.


To understand this disease, it's important to know what a healthy adrenal gland does. The adrenal gland is a small organ that is located in the abdomen near the kidneys. Two are present, one on the right, and one on the left. These glands normally function to produce several hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and adrenaline. In addition, they have many other roles such as generating stress hormones and regulating blood pressure. Adrenal gland disease is always marked by the presence of a tumor. This tumor then causes normal functions of the gland to be impaired, resulting in a variety of clinical signs. Most of the tumors are benign, meaning they will not spread to other places.  However, a small percentage do have the potential to be malignant and spread to other organs.


The most common age at which adrenal disease is identified is when a ferret is middle aged - usually around 4-5 years old. Often, the first sign we see is hair loss. Occasionally, this is mild and starts with just a little thinning of the coat, commonly over the tail. The hair loss can start to progress over the back and eventually leave the ferret nearly bald. Along with this thinning of the hair coat, the skin may become fragile, which may result in bruising. Female ferrets can be seen to have an enlarged, swollen vulva. Males can get an enlarged prostate gland. Though an owner won't be able to see this at home, what they may recognize is the pet straining to urinate. Occasionally, this can become an emergency situation in male ferrets, particularly if the enlarged prostate is pinching off the urethra and completely blocking passage of any urine. This can lead to secondary damage to the kidneys and result in death in as little as 48 hours if not promptly treated. It is also important to note that many times a secondary infection may be present in the prostate or bladder.


Diagnosing adrenal disease is usually not too difficult and many times we are suspicious of the disease based on clinical signs. However, it is important to note that, sometimes, the signs we see can occur with other disorders. It is important to rule out these other disorders by performing diagnostics, which can include blood work, radiographs and an ultrasound. If a secondary infection is suspected in the bladder or prostate, a culture of the urine may also be necessary.


There are a few ways to treat adrenal gland disease which include both medical and surgical therapies. Surgery involves placing the patient under anesthesia, entering the body and removing the diseased adrenal gland. It may sound simple, but it's a much more complex surgery than one might think. The glands are closely associated with some very important blood vessels in the body and, occasionally, the tumor will invade into these vessels, making a complete removal of the gland very difficult. Other times, the surgery is more straight forward. Every ferret is different and many times we do not know the real severity of the problem until looking at the glands during surgery. Surgical removal of the adrenal gland is not without risk and needs to be discussed closely with your veterinarian to determine if it would be right for your pet.


Another treatment option is medical therapy. Over the years, people have tried numerous medications but more recently we have found success with two different hormones, Lupron and Deslorelin. One of the problems with adrenal gland disease is that it causes an overproduction of several sex hormones. The hormone therapy that is initiated will suppress this overproduction of hormones and result in the resolution of clinical signs. Lupron comes as a once-monthly injection. Deslorelin is administered as an implant and lasts for about one year. Deslorelin is a new product; therefore, we are still learning exactly how well it works for patients. Many ferrets can do very well for years with hormone therapy after they have been diagnosed with adrenal gland disease. Others will begin to develop resistance to the hormone therapy and it may even stop working for them. Again, each ferret is an individual and determining which treatment modality is right for your pet will need to be discussed with your veterinarian.


Many ferrets can live for years with adrenal gland disease. As long as they are receiving regular check-ups with a veterinarian, in addition to monitoring and treatment for any secondary infections or disorders, a ferret can live a normal life span comfortably with the disease.



By Dr. Sari Kanfer



You are the most important factor in keeping your pet healthy. You spend time with your pet and can tell when they are not acting normally. Sometimes we get so busy that we may miss the early signs of illness. Following is a list of what you can do to help your pet:


Make Sure You are Feeding Your Pet the Proper Diet


Herbivorous mammals like rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas need to eat alot of hay, with limited pellets and greens, and minimal treats. Herbivorous turtles and tortoises need to eat fresh grass (pesticide free) and calcium rich leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion, etc.


Carnivores like snakes and some lizards need to eat whole prey. Feeding fresh killed or frozen and thawed is best because feeding live prey often leads to the prey attacking the snake and can cause serious wounds! Ferrets are carnivores also and need to eat a diet very high in protein.

Omnivores eat a combination of protein and vegetation, and in some cases you can purchase prepared diets that are healthy.  For example, rodents should have Lab blocks as their staple diet but can be supplemented with healthy human foods.


Birds should be eating a healthy pelleted diet from Harrison's, Roudy Bush or Lafeber's for the most nutritional value, and seeds should be used only as treats. Birds also benefit from small amounts of healthy human food such as vegetables, fruit, cooked eggs and chicken.


For some omnivores, the pelleted diet should be fed sparingly, if at all.

If Pot-bellied pigs are fed the pelleted feed, they will become overweight and may develop dental disease. Feeding a vegetarian diet of vegetables and leafy greens, tofu, and beans, helps pigs remain a healthy weight and live many more years.  Hedgehogs should be fed a variety of fresh insects and vegetables, with small amounts of cat or dog food.  Red eared sliders are omnivorous and should eat fresh live insects and some greens.


Many lizards are insectivores and have difficulty obtaining enough calcium from a bug diet. The most frequently fed insects are crickets and mealworms, but they are low in protein and high in fat. Supplementing your lizard with different types of insects is helpful (silkworms, earthworms), as is feeding the insects a healthy diet before the lizard eats them. Some species like sugar gliders and lorikeets have specialized diets.


The most important thing is to learn about your pet and what its proper diet includes. Many exotic pets have special needs and if we do not feed them correctly, they will get sick.  Learn what your pet's normal eating pattern is, and monitor for any decrease in appetite or any changes.


Snakes eat infrequently, about once every 2 weeks. Most lizards eat daily or every other day. Birds and mammals usually eat several times throughout the day and need to be fed at least twice a day. For rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, they should get a very large handful of fresh good quality hay twice a day, which they usually munch on throughout the day. Pellets and greens are fed as a small amount once or twice a day. When you feed your pet, usually they run right up and start eating. This is ideal. Some pets are more casual and less excited about mealtime. Sometimes a lackadaisical appetite means that the pet is being fed too rich of a diet. Talk to your exotics experienced veterinarian to make sure you are feeding the correct diet in the recommended amounts.


If your pet eats less, or stops eating altogether, that is definitely a reason to take your pet to an exotics vet. Snakes can go weeks without eating but lizards and tortoises should be seen within a few days or a week. Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, small rodents, and all birds that stop eating need to be seen THAT DAY!!! They can become deathly ill very quickly, and hide their signs until they are very sick.


Does Your Pet Have the Proper Environment?


Different reptile species have different and specific temperature and humidity needs. Also, lizards, turtles and tortoises require a source of Vitamin D from the sun or special light bulbs, and supplemental calcium in their diet. If your reptile is not warm enough, eventually it will get sick. If it lacks sun or does not have access to a full-spectrum bulb it has a high risk of developing Metabolic Bone Disease. Carefully consider the items you place in your reptile's environment and consult with your exotic vet first. Lizards kept on sand may develop a sand impaction. Bark may get eaten and cause a blockage as well. A reptile carpet is extremely safe.


Birds need to have a large cage with appropriately sized bars, and several perches of varying thicknesses. Birds are intelligent and very active, and require a lot of mental stimulation and attention. If a bird is bored or stressed they will start plucking out their feathers, and may develop other unwanted behaviors such as biting and screaming.


Guinea pigs and chinchillas need large cages with soft bedding underfoot and a hidebox to help them feel secure. Chinchillas like to jump so they will enjoy several levels. These animals are happy when they are handled often and allowed time out of their cages to play. For chinchillas you can place them in a room and keep the door closed. Make sure there are no small areas or holes they can escape through or hide in. For guinea pigs that can be shy, a small area with tunnels and blankets is fun.


Rabbits should ideally be kept in a large doggie x-pen. Even the largest cage is too small for rabbits to be comfortable inside it 24/7. Whether in a cage or an x-pen, rabbits need to come out every day for at least a couple of hours to run around. Rabbits are easily litter box trained in most cases, and rabbits can live cage-free in your home, similar to a cat. Outdoor rabbits are at risk from heat stroke and predators like cats, dogs, raccoons, coyotes, and hawks. Indoor rabbits become part of the family and are more affectionate than outdoor rabbits. Also, it is very difficult to tell when your outdoor rabbit is getting sick, but you can see right away when indoor rabbits aren't feeling well.


Feel your pet regularly, weekly or monthly. Run your hands over your pet's body. Feel for any lumps or wounds, any missing fur, feathers or scales. Does your pet feel boney or very round and chubby? Are they grooming themselves or getting messy? Are they shedding normally? Perform a visual inspection: eyes clear and symmetrical? Ears normal? Walking normally? Any crooked toes? Learn what your pet looks like when it is breathing normally, so you can recognize if it is breathing harder.


The more attention you pay to your pet, the more likely you will be able to identify a problem early, before it becomes life-threatening. If you haven't taken your exotic pet to an experienced veterinarian, you should do so, to make sure it is healthy and that you are doing the best you can to keep it living a long, happy and healthy life.



Mark Your Calendars!

Upcoming Events

December 14-Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue Holiday Party, American Legion Hall, 5 to 9 p.m. 
Dr. Margolin will be speaking about Acupuncture and Laser Therapy and Dr. Lamb will be having an "Ask the Vet" Hour. Email zoohcorner@mybunny.org for more information 

December 14 and 15-Bunny Bunch Holiday Party, Bunny Bunch Montclair, 1 to 4 p.m.
Download event flyer


Prescriptions and Prescription Refills
In order for us to serve you better and have your prescription ready on time, please give us 24 hours notice on all prescriptions and prescription refills.  Thank you for your cooperation!  
 Donations to EACC  
We occasionally admit 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 always 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!

Towel Donations


We are in need of new or gently used towels, of any size, at the clinic.  If you are able to make a towel donation we would very much appreciate it!  We use them many times a day, for appointments, grooming, and inside the enclosures of pets that are staying for the day at the clinic. 



There is a new comment box at our reception desk. Please feel free to write down your comments, suggestions, or feedback for us. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves to better serve you and your pets.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Exotic Animal Care Center!

2121 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91107