Frequently Asked Avian and Exotics Questions

Why are avocados toxic to birds? What exotic species should be spayed or neutered? Does my pet get vaccinations? Whether you’re a new or experienced avian or exotic pet owner, you may have asked yourself questions like these about your furry or feathery companion. That’s why we’ve compiled the following list of FAQs. If you have additional questions, please give us a call at 301-498-8387, or visit our Pet Library.

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Q: What Exotic Pets Do You See?
A: Here at Lakeside Veterinary Center, we provide veterinary care for the following exotic pet species:

  • Rodents (guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, mice, etc.)
  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • Sugar gliders
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Birds

Q:  What Exotic Pet Species Should Be Spayed/Neutered?
A. Due to the many health benefits that spaying/neutering can provide (reduced risk of uterine infections, cancers, testicular tumors, etc.), we recommend that all rabbits, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, and rats be neutered. Spaying is strongly urged for rabbits, young guinea pigs, and young rats.

Q: At What Age Should I Spay/Neuter My Pet?
A: For female rodents and rabbits, around 3-4 months is ideal. Between 3½ and 4 months is best for males. For male sugar gliders, we recommend neutering as soon as you can see the pompoms (scrotum). Because spaying female marsupials is a very difficult surgery (even in the normal animal), we do not spay sugar gliders.

Q: Why Are Avocados Toxic to Birds?
A: Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin, which is dangerous to certain animals, including birds. If ingested, this toxin can cause fluid accumulation around the heart and lungs, among other problems. The most dangerous part of the avocado is near the pit. That is where the highest concentration of persin can be found.

left-quoteAnimals, like us, are living souls. They are not things. They are not objects. Neither are they human. Yet they mourn. They love. They dance. They suffer. They know the peaks and chasms of being.right-quote

— Gary Kowalski