Exotic Animal Care Center News
Please note that Dr. Kanfer will be out of the office beginning Friday, April 25 and will return Thursday, May 15. Dr. Kanfer and her mother will be taking a much needed and anticipated trip to Italy! (Thanks Carole!) You can schedule appointments with Dr. Stephanie Lamb or Dr. Tiffany Margolin during Dr. Kanfer's absence.
Pets hold a special place in our hearts. Many of us have opened our lives up to a pet, be it a cat, dog, rabbit, ferret, parrot, tortoise, or other critter. Dogs are very demonstrative and cats frequently jump into laps, but with many exotic pets the returned affection may be more subtle, like a bunny closing his eyes and chattering his teeth while you pet his head or your parrot turning her head and asking to be scratched.
Having pets makes us feel good. In some cases, it is as simple as knowing that your pet is happy, like when your two pet ferrets are playing and rolling around together, your bunnies are spooning and grooming each other, or your chinchilla is bouncing off the walls. Sometimes we enjoy sitting back and observing our pet's behavior, such as watching rabbits explore the new cardboard box, or the bearded dragon hunting his insect prey, or observing the dinosaur-like tortoise eat his greens, or even hearing our guinea pig yelling for dinner.
Another aspect of pet care that makes many of us feel good is rescue. Nursing that skinny iguana back to health, helping a sick rabbit become healthy and seeing her blossom as she gets a boyfriend and gets to run and play, teaching a shy parrot that people are okay.....many of us are suckers and love to help the sick and injured.
I want to tell you about one such special rabbit. Her name is Scooty Puff. Scooty came to a rescue, Too Many Bunnies, from a shelter. She gave birth to a litter of babies, and shortly after that mysteriously lost the use of her hind legs. Her rescuer, Linda Bailey, created several homemade carts to allow Scooty to run around and play. But Scooty's hind leg paralysis worsened, and she started to have problems with her forelegs. She developed a bad urinary tract infection and skin infection, which is when she came into my life. Her rescuer had been bathing her rear end daily, giving her lots of cart time and love, but she didn't have the time to perform intensive physical therapy, nor was she able to afford the urine culture and treatments Scooty needed. So, being the sucker that I am, I offered to take on Scooty's care. Our hospital covered the costs of her culture tests and medications, and I personally kept her with me at home and then brought her into work every day so she could get the treatment she needed to clear up her urinary and skin infection. Being a vet, I was able to get an evaluation at CARE, California Animal Rehab Center in Santa Monica, for no charge. During her exam there we realized that she had also torn the ligaments in both of her shoulder joints, probably because of pulling her hind end around, and they recommended a course of physical therapy to strengthen her and try to regain some leg function.
|Laura and Scooty, snuggling|
Now for the third chapter of Scooty's story. Being a busy vet with 12-15 rescue rabbits already, I knew I wasn't the best person to give Scooty the intensive care she needed. So I contacted a couple that I knew, Seth and Laura. They had previously adopted a sweet, old, paralyzed bunny from me to bond to their other sweet, old, paralyzed bunny. I had worked closely with them and knew they had the skills and the time to devote to a bunny like Scooty. But they had just moved away, to South Carolina. We did not give up - another client of mine, Viv, is a flight attendant and she volunteered to transport Scooty all the way to South Carolina! When they say it takes a village......
Anyway, Scooty is now extremely happy, getting her intensive physical therapy and huge amounts of love and affection. Some people might wonder, why all this money and effort for just one bunny, that will never run around. But the rest of us know that it is worth the effort, for that one bunny to have a happy life. And anyone who has been a caretaker to a special needs bunny knows the bond that develops, and what a great quality of life these animals can have. For Scooty, we all love you!
Here's more proof that rabbits can flourish even after devastating illnesses and trauma:
Trinity came in emaciated with severe mange, too weak to walk. We nursed her back to health and now she has become Peggy, bonded to the handsome grey lop Sal.
Puddin' had a fractured back. With immediate care, careful physical therapy, and luck, she is able to run, jump and play, barely noticing the minor decrease in sensation in her left rear leg. She has become Mrs. C and is now bonded to Fonzie.
Lark had severely abscessed hocks (ankles). After clearing up the infection, she was taken in by Mary. They are closely bonded and despite her abnormal feet, she runs and hops all over, and enjoys laying in the sun and begging for love and treats.
Many years ago, Rascal had a severe abscess pushing his right eye out, and bad teeth. Surgical treatment cleared up the abscess and saved his eye. He was adopted by Dr. Kanfer and required many dental surgeries throughout his life. Each time he woke up from surgery, he asked for his special banana treat. After the best dental care for all those years, his teeth had improved and he then needed very little dental care. His first girlfriend was Sara, a large, sweet, older New Zealand bunny. After Sara passed away from old age, Rascal met Rosebud and a May-December romance began. Rosebud was less than a year old, and had been attacked by a cat.
|Sara and Rascal|
She had bad wounds that abscessed, and a fractured back. Also taken in by Dr. Kanfer, with good vet care she healed up and is 99% normal. Her youthful vigor and activity energized the then 9 year old Rascal. Rascal lived a long and happy life, and passed away at around 12 years of age. Pretty good for a bunny who came to Dr. Kanfer with jaw abscesses and really bad teeth!
|Rascal and Rosebud|
Exotic Animal Care Adoptables
Nickel is an adorable 2 year old neutered male rabbit. He is sweet and curious, likes to be petted and explore. He was given up by his owner who couldn't afford to treat his dental abscesses. We performed surgery to fix his abscesses, and going forward he will only require minor dental maintenance.
Looking for a cuddle bunny? C.C. loves to be held and cradled like a baby. He 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 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.
Henry is a 5 year old neutered male rabbit that is extremely friendly and personable. He had a severely infected wound on his face that required extensive treatment and reconstructive surgery. His owners relinquished him because they couldn't afford all the treatment he required. The residual changes to his face include a scarred area with minimal hair regrowth, and a leaky, damaged tear duct on the left side of his face that will need minor cleaning on a regular basis. Other than that he is very healthy and happy.
Savannah 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.
McGregorey is a gorgeously handsome Mini Rex rabbit, about 6 months old. He was found by one of our staff members and is completely healthy. He was recently neutered. He has a great outgoing personality and loves to run around and play. Everyone that meets him is enamored!
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!
We have a female Iguana for adoption, estimated to be a few years old, that came from Pasadena Humane Society. She is missing the tip of her tail, but is otherwise healthy and a good eater.
Please call us at 626-405-1777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of the animals above.
Spring is Here...and That Means its Baby Season for Wildlife!
By Dr. Stephanie Lamb, DVM
Baby bunnies, squirrels and birds are very cute but encountering one outdoors can sometimes raise questions as to how to handle the situation. Many times people think that if they find a baby animal it is orphaned, but this may not be the case. A baby may have just been displaced from its nest but the parent is watching close by. They may be either waiting for a safe time to return the baby to its nest or feed it from its new spot. If you do encounter a baby it is important to know what to do.
The first step is to assess the surroundings. Where is the baby located? Is it in a safe location? Are there any potential predators around? Is the baby animal near a likely nesting site, such as a tree for a bird or squirrel? A bird or squirrel may have been knocked from its nest because of poor weather, a sibling accidentally pushing it out, or the nest not being constructed as sturdy as one would hope it to be.
Next, examine the baby. If you can, leave the baby where it is and briefly look it over. Look for evidence of trauma such as cuts or bleeding. Observe if it is holding its limbs in a normal position or if any appear to be limp or asymmetrical. Does the baby seem to be alert and aware of its surroundings? Or does it hold its eyes closed, seem quiet or unobservant of the world around it? Assessing this can be a little tricky as there are times in a baby's life where it will normally be quiet, nonobservant, or the eyes may not be at a stage where they can open yet. A good way to assess if the baby should have its eyes closed and be quiet or not is to look at its fur or feathers. Baby mammals that have really short, slick hair or baby birds that are featherless or have mostly pink skin exposed are very young and may not be at a stage where they would have their eyes open and be inquisitive. A fully feathered bird or a fluffy furred mammal is one that should have its eyes open and be observant.
If the baby appears to be healthy and in a safe spot the next step is to look for a nest. If you can safely reach the nest then placing the baby back into it would be the best thing to do. No one can take as good care of a baby animal as the parents can. If you can't safely reach the nest of a bird or squirrel, then place the baby in a box and put it near the tree base or hung to the side of the location where the baby fell from. The box should have an open top and be easily accessible for the parent. Squirrels may come and take their babies from this box, while birds may just use the box as their new nest.
If the safety of the baby cannot be assured or is known to be in danger, then human intervention may be necessary. Times when human intervention should be sought include if the parent is known to be dead, the baby is clearly injured, or the nest is in a location where danger will occur and the nest cannot be safely moved. What is a person to do in this situation then? Collect a safe device to place the animal in, such as a cardboard box or pet carrier and line it with newspaper or an old towel. Then, carefully and gently pick the animal up and place it in the carrier. You may want to wear gloves to protect yourself and the baby. Place the box in a warm, quiet location, then call someone who knows what to do with wildlife! We are lucky to live in Southern California, where there are tons of wildlife rehabilitators and facilities ready to take in needy babies and care for them until they are able to survive on their own. Baby animals of all different species have unique dietary and husbandry needs. If cared for incorrectly it can be detrimental and life threatening.
If you would like to be more involved with baby wildlife, consider volunteering your time at one of the many facilities we have in the state. There you can learn how to properly care for baby wildlife and also assist lots of babies at once!
A quote to consider: "Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more" Edwin Way Teale
The following is a list of a few wildlife rehabilitation facilities here in Southern California:
California Wildlife Center- Malibu, CA- 818-222-2658
Ojai Raptor Center- Ojai, CA- 805-649-6884
Pasadena Humane Society- Pasadena, CA- 626-792-7151
Project Wildlife- San Diego, CA- 619-225-9453
All Wildlife Rescue and Education- Long Beach, CA-562-434-0141
Free Rabbit Care Seminars at EACC
Download the flyer to see the remaining rabbit care seminars brought to you by EACC and Dr. Stephanie Lamb and Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue.
And, check it out! We have video taped these seminars and you can view them on YouTube by clicking on the following link.
HEALING NATURALLY-EXOTIC PETS AND HOLISTIC CARE
By Tiffany Margolin, ABVP Avian, Acupuncture, Laser Therapy
When one thinks of holistic or complimentary medicine, one rarely considers animals, much less EXOTIC animals. The first question I hear is always..."What? Acupuncture for ANIMALS??" The next is, "How do you get them to stay still while you are putting in the needles?"
As the athletes of the domesticated animals' world, horses were the first to reap the benefits of cutting edge sports medicine treatments. Because their athletic performance often has a tangible result, i.e; a monetary value associated with it, owners are willing to invest in finding out how modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic and massage will affect a horse's performance. Luckily, now all of our smaller furry friends are benefiting from this. For example, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronate were once the domain of the equine athlete, and now rabbits, reptiles and birds are able to access these outstanding treatments and supplements, as well as all of their associated benefits.
The following is an in-depth look at what acupuncture, chiropractic, and laser therapy can do for your pet's health and longevity.
CHIROPRACTIC CARE-VETERINARY ORTHOPEDIC MANIPULATION
Are there those of you with rabbits that have back or hind leg problems? Dogs are not alone in suffering from disc disease, spinal nerve degeneration and back pain. In fact, almost all active rabbits develop some form of back problem during their lifetime. If you note how a rabbit's back is shaped and how powerful their hind legs are, you can imagine the stress and strain placed on them throughout their life.
In the spine, small "subluxations" of joints are actually partial dislocations. Ouch! You can imagine the body's reaction to that. Your pet's back muscles and ligaments spasm and they walk stiffly, favor one side, or develop lameness or a splayed leg. Your rabbit will not make a sound, they just adjust and adjust until they cannot do so anymore. In this case, chiropractic treatment may be the ideal choice. Even severe arthritis in an older pet's back may do well with gently forms of chiropractic manipulation. This is because it is not the bony arthritis itself causing the pain, but the soft tissue around the arthritic areas, and that can be moved. At Exotic Animal Care Center we use a spring-loaded "activator" to gently tap the vertebrae back into place with minimal distress to your pet.
This instrument is so gentle it can be used to treat a BUDGIE! (and it was). In cases of head tilt from various causes, VOM (activator method) is sometimes used to alleviate neck spasms together with acupuncture treatment.
Chronic or arthritic pain, of course, is different than an accident or acute trauma to the spine and cord. Chiropractic care may be unsuitable in some situations.
LOW-LEVEL (COLD) LASER THERAPY
Sometimes our patients are simply too small or too wiggly for acupuncture. We have options for these patients and they can still get all the benefits! Small mammals such as guinea pigs, rats and non-mammals including birds and reptiles need an effective alternative to needling.
And yet, there are multiple ways to move qi and blood in the body, providing excellent results without needles. Modern research has provided new opportunities for acupuncture treatments that did not previously exist, including microcurrent, magnetic treatments and cold light laser therapy.
HISTORY OF LASER TREATMENT
Scientists began lab experimentation with lasers in the 1950s, with availability outside the lab in the 1960s. Once the quest for laser knowledge began, it was unstoppable. Researchers wanted to know how this new kind of light could change the world of healthcare. Early laser experiments resulted in the realization that laser therapy minimized skin scarring, helped wounds heal faster, and affected cellular metabolism.
Most lasers used in therapy are known as low-level lasers or "cold lasers," (because they don't produce heat.). These are not the same as lasers used for laser surgery, in which "hot lasers" are used as a scalpel to burn or cut. Studies show that low-level lasers can help regenerate cells, decrease pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and stimulate hair growth, to name a few examples.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of laser acupuncture is that it's completely painless. Most patients feel nothing at all during laser therapy. This makes it ideal for smaller mammals and for birds. One effect is immediate calming of the nervous system (yay!). This is a great way to treat the smaller mammals, birds and reptiles. Laser therapy is most often used and very effective for injuries, infections of skin, bumblefoot and sore hocks, healing from surgery, and any place in the body where improving blood flow will aid healing. The only area we may not direct laser light is towards a growing tumor.
Reduction of pain, swelling and redness are advantages of low level laser therapy as well. If your pet is a candidate for acupuncture, they are often responsive to laser or a combination of the two. However, some cases achieve the best results with acupuncture-rabbits are generally very amenable to it and quickly relax into the treatment.
Used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, acupuncture is now beginning to be integrated into Western health care. In the last ten years, many studies have identified nerve centers and clusters of blood vessels at the ancient mapped acupuncture points. When needles are inserted into these points, signals are sent to the brain to produce anti-inflammatory, anti-pain and healing chemicals to those areas that need it.
There are two primary types of acupuncture taught to vets. One is the more traditional form that encompasses energy flow and blockages, and incorporates a very systemic approach. The other is more structural and correlates to the parts of the anatomy that are being treated, such as a painful back or neck.
Prior to a first acupuncture consult it is important to have a thorough physical exam on your pet and any bloodwork or xrays indicated to help define the problem. Your integrative veterinarian will offer the most appropriate treatments, including acupuncture, herbs or laser therapy where indicated.
How do you know if your pet needs/will respond to acupuncture or laser therapy? Again, choose a qualified veterinary acupuncturist and address the appropriate diagnostic testing to help direct the course of treatment. Acupuncture appears to be very effective with exotic pets when disc disease, soft tissue or ligament pain, or arthritis is present. In addition, chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer or a seizure disorder may respond well to acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbs. Your veterinary acupuncturist will review the diagnosis and examine your pet to complete the assessment. In most cases, even a nervous pet will readily accept needle placement. The needles are tiny and inserted swiftly and gently. Once the needles are in place, you and your furry child can relax and sit together for 20 to 30 minutes, an experience most animals aren't used to at an animal hospital. They appreciate the nap, and when you come for the next visit, are often much less nervous about the experience. The effects of the treatment will be evident from immediately to 48 hours after your visit. One note: If your pet has never received an acupuncture treatment, they may release a lot of pent-up acids and toxins during the first or second treatment. While not dangerous, this may create some transient soreness during the first 48 hours after the experience. This is termed a "healing crisis". Just be patient and follow your veterinarian's instructions, and by the third day, the positive results are often visible. Try to make fresh water and gentle movement available to your pet during the days immediately following chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.
So how many sessions will be needed? What results can you expect?? How long does the treatment last??? It depends upon the condition. The more acute, or recent, the problem, the fewer treatments are needed to bring blood flow, repair cells and banish pain. My border collie mix, Spirit, only needed three sessions for her mid-back muscle spasms. I could always tell when she had a "bad day," as she was reticent to jump and play, and her ears were DOWN instead of happy and "up". Rabbits will decrease activity or stop doing "binkies". Reptiles may only decrease general activity or stop producing stools. These simple signs are examples of what you should look for in your own pet.
Chronic conditions, including degenerative arthritis, spinal degeneration, type 2 disc disease and the like, typically respond to a longer treatment program. After a number of weekly sessions, most animals do well with less frequent visits or with herbs and supplements to continue the effects of the therapy.
MASSAGE AND PHYSICAL THERAPY AT HOME
So what about massage? Does it have a real place in pet medicine? Indeed it does. Massage by a certified pet massage therapist or taught to you by a rehabilitation vet uses acupressure priniciples to help your pet. Veterinary physical therapists can teach you how to stretch and strengthen your pet at home. When you think of where you'd rather go, the chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist, many of you pick the massage, simply because it feels so good. This is not an accident. Many studies show that the reason it FEELS so good is that massage and therapy releases endorphins (pain blockers), increases circulation to areas that need it, and improves lymphatic flow, the key to your immune system.
Ultimately, the key to choosing treatments that will work for your exotic pet is finding the right exotic specialist who also has knowledge of natural treatments. You may be advised to begin with xrays, bloodwork and other recommended procedures. Following that will be a discussion of the treatment options for your pet's problem, and a tailored, integrative approach that very often will include some traditional western and some complementary (natural) modalities-- working together to maximize healing!
Mark Your Calendars!
Upcoming Free Rabbit Care Seminars held at EACC
May 18, 2014- What's for Dinner?
July 20th, 2014- Does My Rabbit Need Braces?
Download event flyer for more information and future seminar dates!
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!
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.
WE VALUE YOUR COMMENTS!
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.
Thank You For Letting Us Take Care of Your Exotic Pets!
2121 E. Foothill Blvd.