Rabbits, reptiles, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small mammals, most of these animals have developed some pretty good strategies in the wild to conceal any illnesses or injuries they may have as a survival mechanism to avoid predators. Because of this, most medical problems often go unnoticed in pocket pets and exotic pets for too long. By the time the owner recognizes there may be a medical problem with their exotic or pocket pet, the condition has often progressed to an extremely serious level. This is why our veterinarians strongly recommend regular physical examinations on pocket pets and exotic pets. Regular health check-ups, as well as annual nutritional and husbandry-related conditions monitoring, are essential for any pocket or exotic pet’s well-being. Our veterinarians recommend two vet visits per year. This ensures that any problems your pocket pet or exotic pet may contract or develop is diagnosed before it becomes too serious to combat or effectively treat. Soon after taking home a new exotic or pocket pet, a complete veterinary examination is also strongly recommended. This initial examination will include a thorough physical examination, basic nutritional consultation, and any disease screening and laboratory testing needed if the veterinarian determines it to be necessary. THINKING OF GETTING A NEW POCKET OR EXOTIC PET? It is no surprise that the human population in the United States has expanded over the most recent decades, and, in turn, so has the pet population, especially that of the smaller sized pets. Millennials are now the primary pet-owning demographic and account for half of the owners of small mammals, or pocket pets; which commonly include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, and gerbils. If you are ready to bring a new small pet into your home, it is important to do your homework to decide which pet is best suited for your family and your lifestyle. Small pets require special housing equipment to keep them safe from the dangers they may encounter if they should escape into your home. Many pocket pets suffer from chronic health conditions, usually because of inadequate nutrition and husbandry. Most of these types of pets require more specialized care due to their exotic origination. Many of these health conditions can be prevented with the proper education and guidance, which our veterinarians at the Animal Clinic of Billings can provide. EXOTIC PETS NEED VETERINARY CARE TOO! turtles are exotic pets that need veterinarian care too! This turtle has a stethoscope on his shell as the vet listens for its heartbeat. Just like cats and dogs, your pocket pet or exotic pet deserves regular veterinary care in order to maintain good health. If you have recently acquired a rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, turtle, lizard, hedgehog or other pocket pet, it is recommended you bring your new little family member in to see your veterinarian within the first two weeks of adoption. This visit will allow your veterinarian to check your pet’s current health status and answer any questions you have regarding your pet’s future care. You and one of our versatile veterinarians at the Animal Clinic of Billings will work together to develop a proper health care plan for your new little friend and companion.