Exotic pets and a smattering of other things I deem interesting.

19th April 2014


Anonymous asked: As both a vet and reptile keeper, what is your opinion on bioactive substrates? I want to consider them for my bearded dragon for the habitat and enrichment benefits but worry about safety. I really dislike the unnatural and behaviorally limiting aspects of solid substrate. Unfortunately, the topic of substrate is so widely polarized it's hard to get a good feeling for just what is an acceptable risk level. Temp/humidity are my top priority, but I want to accommodate behavior and comfort too.

I think bioactive substrates can be really great. As long as you are very careful about where you are getting your organisms from there shouldn’t be any issues.

A bearded dragon habitat should not be humid enough to support a bioactive substrate though. Springtails and other detritis dwelling organisms require fairly high humidity and as far as I know there are not any  commercially available species that could survive the heat and dryness required to keep beardies happy and healthy.

19th April 2014

Question with 11 notes

Anonymous asked: What are your thoughts regarding the use of betadine with reptiles? I often see people recommending it for snakes for minor skin injuries, but I don't know anything about it. Is it safe for snakes? How does it work? What's the best way it can be used, or should it not be used at all?

Betadine is great if it used appropriately. It is safe to use in reptiles of all kinds but it really is only good for minor, non-penetrating wounds. It should be diluted out in saline and then used to gently lavage wounds or soak an animal in. For pet owners I say they can have it on hand as long as it is not used as a substitute for veterinary care. You can clean a wound with it until you can get your animal to a vet but only if you know for sure it is safe to do so.

18th April 2014

Question with 11 notes

Anonymous asked: How do you do reptile fecal tests? I would like to know your "process" for both tests [smear and float]

First a fresh fecal sample is obtained. Sometimes owners bring one in or I have to get one via enema or by gently inserting a catheter tip into the cloaca to stimulate a bowel movement.

For a smear I put a drop of saline on a slide and then take the wooden end of a swab and touch it to the sample and then mix it with the saline and smear it across the slide and let it dry. This is then stained. If you keep look at it in the drop without smearing and drying you can see motile bacteria and other organisms.

About a gram of feces is also put into a centrifuge tube and mixed with sheather’s solution or zinc sulfate depending on what I am looking for.  I mix it all together and then fill the tube up until a reverse meniscus is formed and put a cover slip on this. Then the tubes are spun for 10 minutes and allowed to sit for a bit. The cover slips are removed gently and put on a slide and then looked at under the microscope.

18th April 2014

Link with 9 notes

Get The Most Out of Your Next Reptile Vet Visit →

17th April 2014

Post with 41 notes

I love that I have been getting so many questions from people interested in all things veterinary, exotics, and everything else. I hope this continues because I enjoy it. What I am going to have to stop are the questions about specific illnesses in pets. 

This is for multiple reasons but the top ones are 1) I do this for a living and while I don’t mind giving free advice, asking me for a diagnosis and treatment options for a pet without paying me is unfair. 2) There is no possible way I can diagnose and treat via the internet, I have to be able to see an animal in person and any vet that tells you otherwise is not a very good one.

If you are so concerned about your animal that you need to post it on the internet, you need to make a vet appointment. This is the only way your pet is going to get the proper treatment they need. Waiting for responses from the online community only delays medical treatment and could make the situation worse. Also there is no way to guarantee the information you are getting is correct. Honestly 99% of the info I see offered to pet owners on Tumblr alone is incorrect and some of it could actually be harmful.

Please keep asking me questions about animal care in general, diseases, how medications work, how procedures are done, or anything else for that matter. But I will no longer be answering  questions about specific sick or injured pets, if I see them I will delete them. If your animal is sick it needs to see a veterinarian

17th April 2014

Photoset reblogged from MAD SCIENCE with 85 notes


In dogs who are prone to severe ear infections, such as cocker spaniels and bulldogs, the constant inflammation and infection in the ear can result in thickening of the ear skin and cartilage over time.  The abnormally thickened tissue makes it harder to treat the ear infection inside, and the inflammation continues.  The upper ear still has an opening into the ear canal, though the opening is swollen and difficult to insert medication into.  The lower ear, however, is an end-stage ear.  No amount of anti-inflammatory steroids or medications or antibiotics will fix that ear now.  At this stage, surgery such as a total ear canal ablation to remove the ruined ear canal and bones of the middle ear is warranted.  This option was discussed with this owner, but they have declined at this time.

This is why it is so important to go to the vet when you first notice a problem and not wait.

17th April 2014

Question with 15 notes

stonetemplepilots asked: I suspect my iguana may be female, I've been reading that spaying them can be a good option, however I don't want to do that really... Besides the cost, I think it would be hard on her... What are your opinions on the spaying of iguanas? Will it be worse for her health if I DONT spay her? She's only 3 now, so this is all in the future, if it turns out she is female.

Iguanas reach sexual maturity around 18 months of age so you should be able to tell if she is female by now and she may start producing eggs.  I personally don’t advocate for spaying iguanas unless we have a history of a problem. If you are providing the proper husbandry for her she should have no problem laying a clutch of eggs. That being said things can happen and you should be prepared to get her to a vet if she becomes egg bound or has any other reproductive issues.

A skilled reptile veterinarian should have no problems with an iguana OVH and it shouldn’t be “hard” on her. Sometimes once the ovaries are removed females can become aggressive for awhile because their adrenal glands are producing testosterone and there is no estrogen to balance it out. Usually this goes away on its own but it can be upsetting for owners.

I would make an appointment with your vet and get a wellness exam done so that any problems can be found now and discuss the concerns you have and they will be able to guide you in the right direction.

16th April 2014

Photo reblogged from Reptiglo with 705 notes


Theloderma corticale, Vietnamese Mossy Frog by Michael Kern


Theloderma corticale, Vietnamese Mossy Frog by Michael Kern

Tagged: AmphibianFrogMossy Frog

Source: pinterest.com

15th April 2014

Question with 3 notes

little-miss-poisonous asked: Could you do me a colossal favor and check out my most recent post regarding a little jungle carpet python? I'm trying to figure out what may be wrong and am pretty stumped.

It is really hard to make a diagnosis from a picture but to me it looks like a burn. It could be that something got on the scales and dried as well but I’m not sure what that could be. You should for sure make a veterinary appointment and get everything checked out.

I am not sure why everyone always wants to put oil or other weird things on snakes. You should not ever put anything on your snake, especially if it has an injury, other than clean water or a medication given to you by your vet. Acetone would not only cause tissue damage but the fumes are toxic and would cause much more damage.

15th April 2014

Question with 1 note

flygex-eatin-on-softies asked: Hey I have a question and I'm not sure who to ask because it seems like such a specific situation. I was feeding my lil texas rat in her enclosure and she missed and got a mouth-ful of sani-chips. I now know that I'll have to feed her in a separate enclosure. I started trying to pick the sani chips off of her lips (she's scaleless so she has a hard time keeping saliva in her mouth, thus, substrate tends to stick) and she seemed to really be breathing ragged and had a decent amount of-- cont

saliva in her mouth. She was obviously trying to spit it out, and she seemed to do okay, but it felt like she was having trouble breathing a bit. I know she’s a bit of a special case since she’s scaleless, but I was wondering if snakes normally produce a lot of saliva when they’re getting ready to eat, and maybe swallowing that and trying to spit out substrate could have caused her to have trouble breathing? She always seems to get minor RIs when she sheds, too. She did end up eating, btw.”
Snakes should not have large amounts of saliva and even if she is scaless she shouldn’t have saliva dripping out all of the time. It isn’t normal for her to have respiratory infections all of the time either. Sounds like you need to get her to a vet and get everything looked at.