Exotic Animal Care Center News
Summer 2015

Dear Friends, 

In this newsletter we discuss how to deal with a bunny emergency. We also discussed bunny emergencies in depth at the Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue seminar we held at the hospital on July 12th. There is a follow up seminar involving hands-on instruction of how to care for your rabbit in an emergency coming up on September 20th. For more information, go to www.mybunny.org. You can view our past seminars on Youtube as well- this is a great resource for bunny owners. Hopefully you won't have to deal with an emergency, but it is important to be prepared. 

In order to stay up-to-date with the latest in avian and exotic pet medicine, we attend the Avian and Exotics Conference every year. Dr. Michelle Jack, Dr. Curtis Eng and I will be attending the conference from 8/28-9/2. EACC will still be open and seeing clients. We have hired a wonderful new vet, Dr. Sarah Wills, who will be starting full time right before we leave for the conference. Dr. Wills hails from Virginia, and completed an internship in Avian and Exotic Medicine at the University of Guelph, where she treated numerous avian and exotic pets as well as wildlife. We are very happy to have her join our team!

More exciting news - EACC has become an official site for training 3rd and 4th year veterinary students from Western University. It is important to educate our future vets about high quality avian and exotic pet care. It may get a little crowded in the exam rooms but I think you will enjoy meeting our vet students. 

Sari Kanfer
Exotic Animal Care Adoptables


Willow and Gladys: Willow is a 6 year old neutered male brown lop-eared rabbit. He has E-cuniculi and developed headtilt last year. His illness has resolved, and now he just looks at life from a different angle.  He is a nice bunny and loves to cuddle with his girlfriend Gladys. She is a completely healthy 5 year old spayed female white rabbit.

Chester: Chester is a calico male rabbit, found over 5 years ago, and is estimated to be around 9-10 years old. He is a special needs bunny. He recently became partially paralyzed in his rear end. He needs help with expressing his bladder (he is very easy to do) and keeping clean. We are training him to use a wheelchair, and he is very inquisitive. He is very sweet and loves attention.

Storm and Wolverine are an adorable bonded pair, both born April of 2012. Storm is a black and white blue eyed Netherland dwarf, and Wolverine is a gray neutered male holland lop.



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.  PLEASE NOTE:  Nickel and Turtledove (pictured below) are a bonded pair and need to be adopted together. 

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 3 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 NOTE:  Turtledove and Nickel (pictured above) are a bonded pair and need to be adopted together. 

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

Are Reptile Good Pets for Children?

by Dr. Curtis Eng

The other day I ran into Mrs. Jones at the supermarket and she asked me a question. She looked at me inquisitively and asked, "What kind of reptile should I get my child?" I pondered a bit and told her that this is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many factors involved. Following are the recommendations I gave her.
Determining the reasons for having a reptile as a pet is the first step. Is the "coolness factor" the reason? Chameleons meet the "cool requirement" but do not tolerate being handled. They are mesmerizing to watch because of their unique eye movements and strange eating behaviors, so if handling and interacting is not a high priority then chameleons make great pets. 

Iguanas, Bearded Dragons, Savannah Monitors, Uromastyx and some skinks are a good choice if interaction on a daily basis is required. Some of these even crave human interaction. Out of this group, Bearded Dragons would be the first choice. They are extremely easy to keep healthy and really crave interaction with their people. 

Some species are aggressive from birth and are not recommended for anyone. The Green Tree Boa Constrictor is one example. Regardless of the level of experience, all owners should socialize their reptile from the beginning to make interacting much easier and more pleasant. Failing to do so ensures having a pet that is difficult to enjoy.

Ease of care is another consideration. Providing the right environment is critical for the health of all reptiles. Heat, light, humidity, the type and size of tank needed, the correct substrate and enclosure furniture are all equally important. The right balance of heat, lighting and humidity are the trifecta of reptile care. Sulcata Tortoises and Leopard Geckos are great for beginners because their needs are simple and easy to provide. However, Sulcatas can weigh 100 pounds as adults. A large backyard or enclosure is needed for them. Box Turtles and Russian Tortoises are also easy keepers, and their small size makes having one as a pet more feasible for most people.

Because their habitats require a lot of equipment, which is usually costly, and maintaining the proper levels of heat, light and humidity is difficult, Day Geckos, Anacondas, Water Turtles and venomous reptiles should not be a first choice. Providing appropriate humidity in dry Southern California is very difficult for the tropical species. For these reasons alone, these types of reptiles should be reserved for those with more experience. 

Thought should be given to the size the reptile will reach at adulthood. Burmese pythons and alligators get extremely large and are not very practical. Special permits are necessary for ownership as well. 

Nutritional requirements vary greatly between species. Some reptiles are vegetarians which makes feeding fairly easy - providing a healthy salad type diet works great for them. Other reptiles are strictly carnivorous or insectivorous so they require either meat or insects. Frequently this meat is provided in the form of mice, rodents, or rabbits. Insectivorous reptiles require insects such as crickets, mealworms and the often feared cockroach. A willingness to handle the carnivorous dietary needs is imperative. 

A word of caution: reptiles have many diseases and some of these are zoonotic. All reptiles have Salmonella and this is one of the most recognized diseases that can spread from reptiles to humans. A negative culture result does not mean that the animal is free from Salmonella. It is critical to understand that caregivers are at risk for contracting this disease. The key to prevention is practicing good sanitary procedures and housekeeping. Hand washing every time after handling reptiles is a very simple and effective way of preventing a Salmonella infection. Avoid kissing your reptile to prevent pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria into your mouth.

Reptiles are also a great choice for children or family members with allergies to fur and feathers. While dog, cat and bird allergies are common and on the rise among children, an allergy to reptiles has never been reported. 

In general, reptiles require less care than most mammalian pets and are a good way to introduce children to responsible pet ownership. It is also a great way for people of all ages to appreciate the uniqueness of this group of animals. Having reptiles as family members also helps to dismiss many of the negative stereotypes associated with them. 

Surprisingly for most people, reptiles can be very affectionate and oftentimes will seek attention from particular people.  Choosing the correct species of reptile as a pet will help to make sure children have a positive experience as the main caregiver.

Is This a Bunny Emergency?

by Dr. Sari Kanfer

People who have bunnies as family members understand that, like us, rabbits can get sick and it's usually going to happen at the most inconvenient time- probably one minute after your regular veterinarian has closed for the evening or possibly on a Sunday or holiday. 

Familiarizing yourself with situations that are truly medical emergencies is key to knowing if you should seek immediate medical attention.  One of the most important things to prepare for emergencies is to know your veterinarian's office hours, and if after hours care is provided. If not, find an experienced exotics veterinarian you can trust before a crisis happens. If your rabbit is bonded make sure its friend tags along to offer moral support and keep the stress level down. As long as your rabbit is conscious and ambulatory both can travel in the same carrier.

Symptom: Not eating combined with swollen abdomen

A rabbit who is not eating, and has a belly that appears swollen or feels like a balloon, is having a medical crisis and needs veterinary care immediately. "Bloat" is fairly common and is a life threatening emergency. Sometimes emergency surgery is needed.

Symptom: Not eating

Check your rabbit's temperature with a flexible-tipped rectal thermometer. The normal temperature is between 100 and 104*F. If the temperature is below 99* warm your bunny up! Wrap your bunny in a towel and place it on a heating pad that is set to low. Recheck the temperature every 10 to 15 minutes. Once your rabbits temperature is back up to 100*, there should be a noticeable difference in attitude. If your rabbit has perked up then offer some favorite foods. If it eats, then you can probably wait until normal office hours to have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. If your rabbit's temperature will not get above 99*F and shows no sign of improvement after 30 minutes, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is warranted.

Symptom: Labored and fast breathing, bunny may be lying on its side and feels hot to the touch

Bunnies overheat quickly and are prone to heat stroke. This usually happens when your rabbit is outside, but can happen on a hot day in a hot house. Body temperatures higher than 107* can cause brain damage and organ failure. If your rabbit's temperature is elevated, you can place ice packs next to it, wet it with cool, not cold, water, or apply rubbing alcohol to its ears to help bring the body temperature down. Seek medical treatment immediately.

Symptom: Blood present in habitat

Try to find the source of the bleeding. Most of the time a torn toenail is the culprit and styptic powder will stop it. Flour or cornstarch will also do the job. If the blood is coming from somewhere else, especially if a bite wound from another animal is present, a veterinary visit is in order. In the meantime, apply pressure for 5 minutes with a washcloth or even a paper towel to try to staunch the blood flow.

A bite wound from other animals may cause shock, dehydration and be painful. The bacteria present in mouths can cause nasty infections, abscesses and sepsis. Dogs can cause additional trauma such as internal injuries and fractures. This is a serious situation and requires immediate attention from your veterinarian.

Symptom: Decreased appetite, refusal of hay, drooling, wet chin

More than likely the cause of these symptoms is a jaw abscess or painful teeth. This is not a true medical emergency but does require a vet visit within a day or two. In the meantime, increase the amount of greens you feed and administer any pain meds you may have at home. Remember, a rabbit who completely stops eating needs to see a veterinarian immediately.

Symptom: Abnormal feces

Diarrhea in rabbits less than 6 months old is life threatening and veterinary attention is needed immediately. True diarrhea in older bunnies is rare and usually is accompanied by lethargy and weakness. This situation requires immediate medical attention as well.

If soft stool is present but your rabbit is eating and acting normally, and is also producing normal stool as well, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Diet is probably the most likely culprit.

Symptom: Sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, increased respiratory effort

Coughing is usually associated with choking caused by pellets. Most of the time your rabbit will dislodge the food by coughing or gagging while running around frantically. Sometimes brown saliva will drip from both the nose and mouth. A check from the vet needs to happen within a day or so of these episodes to ensure an aspiration pneumonia is not brewing.

If your rabbit collapses it is not getting enough oxygen and may die. This is an emergency situation. Try holding your rabbit with its head down and pat its chest to see if the food will dislodge and allow air flow or try a bulb syringe to remove any debris. This is truly an emergency situation and requires an immediate trip to the vet.

If your bunny is not coughing but has a nasal discharge and is sneezing, but is still active and eating normally, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for the next day or two. If the nasal discharge is really thick, affects both nostrils, and is accompanied by decreased appetite, then an immediate appointment with your vet is needed.

Symptom: Non-weight bearing on one or more legs, or inability to use back legs

If only one leg is affected place your rabbit in a carrier or small cage to keep it confined. Be sure to place a towel on the bottom of the carrier/cage to create secure footing. Also remember to place food and water in the cage. As long as the bunny continues to eat and is alert, call your vet and schedule an appointment for the next day. If your bunny is not alert or not eating then it should be seen immediately.

A bunny that cannot use its back legs at all needs to be seen immediately by your veterinarian. Some conditions that may cause this include a fractured back or a bulging disc somewhere on the spinal cord.

Symptoms: Head tilted to one side, unable to balance

Usually this is caused by an inflammation of nerves responsible for balance, a parasite or a bacterial infection or inflammation of the inner ear. Call your veterinarian and have your rabbit seen within 24 hours. In the meantime, keep your bunny confined in a small cage or carrier and keep it upright with rolled up towels placed on the sides of its body. Most of these rabbits will eat but may need to be hand fed.

Symptoms: Abnormal colored urine, inability to urinate

Plant pigments can change the color of urine to a rusty or orange tint. Red urine usually indicates a medical emergency. In an unspayed female, the cause could be a bleeding tumor or burst blood vessel, and your bunny needs immediate medical attention, and probably an emergency spay to save her life.

If the bloody urine is present in a male or spayed female, a urinary infection or bladder stone may be the cause. If it is a male rabbit with bloody urine, as long as your rabbit is still urinating a vet visit can wait 24 hours. If your rabbit is straining and unable to urinate at all it should be seen by a veterinary immediately.

Symptoms: Swollen, bulging eye

A bulging eye can be a symptom of an abscess, usually originating from a tooth root that has formed behind the eye. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian within the next couple of days. If the bulging eye is preventing the eye from completely closing the cornea can be damaged. In this situation, an immediate vet visit is necessary.

Emergency visits to a veterinarian can be quite costly. Always being prepared to handle the financial end will allow at least one part of having a sick bunny to be a little less stressful. Almost all clinics now accept Care Credit and most will help you with your pet insurance claims.

Local Baby Wildlife - How You Can Help!

by Kim Bachar, EACC Vet Tech

Fall is shortly upon us, and that means another round of baby fox tree squirrels! They breed twice a year and yep, its nearly that time again! 

Please be on the lookout for the little ones who have had the misfortune to fall out of the treetop nests they are born in. They will definitely be needing help; a little warmth and some TLC, while bringing them to a local rehabilitator or care facility, will go a long way towards their recovery and well being. 

Also be aware that there is a moratorium on tree trimming in most of our area during the breeding season. The squirrels nest high up in large trees and palm trees. The nests look like very large bird nests and may have several little sections to them, almost like a multi-room house. If you hear a loud bird type chirp, look on the ground!  It may possibly be a baby squirrel giving an alarm call, hoping to find its mother. If the mother is in the area she will come back and take the baby back up into the nest. but a lot of times that isn't the case.  Sometimes the babies start to "alarm call" and crawl around because they are so hungry.  In some cases some type of misfortune may have befallen the mom.  EACC is here to help as needed and Pasadena Humane Society will take them in if they have room, and if the babies have at least some hair. There are other rehabilitation centers in the area as well. 

We are having great success working with several rehabilitators and local nature centers on assisting with the care and rehabilitating of some of the many raccoon babies from this season. Some will be slated for release very soon, others will be released in late fall or early spring.  For some reason, the mother raccoons have stopped looking at calendars and seem to be having babies almost all year round!

Don't forget Exotic Animal Care Center can always use donations for the wildlife we assist in rehabilitating back to the wild.  Following is our Wish List:

  • Gently used flannel or fleece baby blankets
  • Washable baby toys
  • Teething rings (plastic bead type, not liquid filled) and plastic baby toys and plastic dog toys
  • Baby foods
  • Dry dog food
  • Clay-type cat litter (non-clumping). 
  • And of course towels! 
We need monetary donations towards the species-specific milk formula we use to help feed these babies, which can become costly.

We also have a sponsorship program starting up!  If you would like to sponsor a baby squirrel or raccoon please contact us and we will give you the details!

Thanks again!

   Mark Your Calendars!  


Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue Presents 2015 Free Rabbit Care Seminars at Exotic Animal Care Center, hosted by Dr. Sari Kanfer of Exotic Animal Care Center and Cat Logsdon, founder of Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue. Download the flyer for 2015 dates and for more information.  The next seminar in the series will be held Sunday, September 20th, from noon to 3 p.m.  Download the flyer here or get more information about this event by going to mybunny.org


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 Exotic Animal Care Center
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.  

We also have some animals that are relinquished to us that have major health issues, which can become costly.


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 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.
Pasadena, California 91107