Monthly Archives: April 2013

Feeling bloated?

Some days my work is very satisfying. Take this African bullfrog, for instance. His owner brought him in for “bloating”. The word “bloating” was a massive understatement, as he looked like the Goodyear blimp of frogs.

Bloated African Bullfrog

Poor dude! He was having a very bad day. He was cranky, and none of his clothes fit.

Luckily for us, he was also a super nice frog, and was very cooperative as we drained the excess fluid from his belly.  The fluid was a strange blue-green color, and became foamy in the Deflated African Bullfrogbowl as we collected it. The fluid weighed more than he did.







See how deflated our froggy friend looks afterwards? And happy. I didn’t think frogs could smile, but this sure looks like one.

Happy African Bulfrog

Pets are not Wildlife (and vice versa)

This is a Stinkpot Turtle. She is very cute.

She should not, however, have been in a local creek here is California. Her species is native to the East Coast of the United States.

Why does it matter? After all, she is still American, right?

It DOES matter. She and her ilk are taking over habitats and driving out our native Western Pond Turtles.

Western Pond Turtles were once plentiful and ranged from as far south as Baja California to as far north as British Columbia. For many years their habitat range has been shrinking and they are currently only found in parts of California and Oregon along with two small populations in the state of Washington. Their shrinking populations are credited to habitat loss, non-native predators and crowding by non-native turtle species.

Please, please! If you have a pet turtle that you have tired of, find it a good home. Don’t dump it in a local stream. Released pets introduce diseases to and take over habitat from local wildlife populations, and can drive them to extinction. And extinction is forever.

Many parrots come to their owners with bands on their legs. Leg bands can be useful as a form of identification should the bird become lost. However, leg bands can also cause harm to the bird if they become too tight or become caught on something.

Generally speaking, closed leg bands (those that are a continuous metal circle) are safer than open leg bands (those that are a C-shaped piece of metal tightened into a circle). However, I recently had a case where a closed leg band created a big problem.

Fizziwick the Umbrella Cockatoo came to see me last week. He had recently been given to a new owner, and the new owner noticed that he wasn’t using one leg. When I examined thTarsometatarsal Fracture From Bandat leg, I saw that a thick scab had formed under the leg band. The width of the scab made the band much too tight, and the band had cut into his leg. After we removed the band we took an x-ray. Can you see the fractured bone in the circled area? You can actually see where the band was and how it pushed its way into the bone.

Umbrella Cockatoo with Splint

Fizziwick is feeling much better now that the painful band has been removed. His broken leg has been splinted, and he is ready to go back to his new home.

If your pet birds are wearing leg bands, make sure that you monitor them carefully. I generally recommend removing open leg bands, as they are more dangerous. Closed leg bands can be left on with careful supervision, or can be removed and replaced with an identifying microchip in larger birds.

Spaying Chloe the Teacup Pig

Spaying a PigThis is Chloe the pet teacup pig. She is under anesthesia, and having a IV catheter placed in her ear prior to being spayed. We also monitored her temperature, pulse, respiration, heart rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygenation during surgery. She did great, and was up and having breakfast soon afterwards.

Pigs that are not spayed or neutered develop unpleasant behaviors and habits. Unneutered males are smelly and can be quite aggressive. Unspayed female pigs go into heat every three weeks, and get terribly cranky in the process. We recommend spaying and neutering all pot-bellied and teacup pigs that won’t be used for breeding.

Silkie Chickens

LennyTheSilkieFUN FACTS: Silkie chickens are an ancient Chinese breed of chicken. They have fluffy feathers, blue ear lobes, black skin, and an extra toe on each foot. Silkies are calm and gentle birds, and make great pets. This is Lenny, a silkie that visited us today. Check out her blue beak!

Bumblefoot in Chickens

GoldLacedWyandottePododermatitis in a ChickenChickens, especially heavy-bodied ones, are prone to developing foot infections called “bumblefoot” or pododermatitis. Bumblefoot can occur when birds stand all day on hard surfaces under less-than-clean circumstances.

Meet Goldie. She is a lovely Gold-Laced Wyandotte who has developed a limp. When we looked at the bottom of her feet we found thick scabs on both sides. Underneath the scabs were infected plugs of thick pus.

Wyandottes are heavy chickens are therefore prone to bumblefoot. Goldie also had been roosting on round perches much too small for her feet, which added to the problem.

Bumblefoot can usually be cured, but the process can take a while. In Goldie’s case, it required 6 weeks of antibiotics, foot surgery, and changing the perches in her henhouse. She has now recovered fully, and is a healthy and happy chicken with beautiful feet!