Caring for Northbridge & The Blackstone Valley’s Small Pets
Health problems arise in even the best cared-for small pets. PawSteps Veterinary Center is ready and able to help with services available for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions as well as the preventive and wellness care of ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, and chinchillas.
Before You Buy Your Small Pet
Different pets require different levels of care and have various nutritional needs and different environmental requirements that may make specific pets better suited for certain families. Our team is available to offer pre-purchase advice and information, helping to find the best species of small mammal for your family.
Importance of Small Animal Husbandry
Many of the health issues that arise in small pets are due to husbandry issues. Our veterinary health care team can offer expertise and guidance on husbandry questions to help pet owners avoid the need for emergency care. Some of the unique needs involved in caring for small pets include:
- Cage size and type
- Bedding needs
- Heating requirements
- Optimal lighting
- Appropriate nutrition
- Appropriate human interaction
Preventive Health Care for Small Pets
Small mammals and "pocket pets" need regular preventive veterinary care and health examinations. For example, your pet ferrets need vaccinations and non-breeding females must be spayed. Rabbits may require special skin care, and guinea pigs may need a unique diet. Even your pet rat may need individualized care to prevent respiratory problems.
PawSteps Veterinary Center firmly believes that preventive care helps deter disease and will always make sure that the best preventive care is available for your special mammals. Some of the services we provide include:
- Wellness physical examinations
- Spaying/neutering services
- Dental care
- Nutritional counseling
- Behavioral advising to help prevent both medical and non-medical problems such as loneliness, aggression, and person—pet interactions.
Diagnostic and Treatment Options for Small Pets
Some of our diagnostic services include:
- Digital X-ray
- Laboratory testing including blood tests, skin scrapings, and biopsies
- Surgical services, including growth removal, dental extractions, and a variety of internal health issues
- Nutritional counseling to address dermatological or gastrointestinal diseases
- Behavioral counseling for animals with medical problems caused by anxiety or lack of attention
- Medications and supplements tailored to the needs of small animals
Support of Veterinary Specialists
In some cases, our veterinarians may feel that your small mammal needs care from a specialist. We are happy to refer these pets to veterinarians that are board certified or who have a focused interest in their specialty fields.
Special Notes on Preventive Care for Ferrets
Ferrets are one of the small pets that require regular vaccinations. If your family has adopted a young ferret, follow these first steps in preventive care:
- First physical examination at approximately 8–10 weeks of age. This hands-on physical is quite extensive and similar to the physical examination performed on young puppies and kittens.
- First vaccinations at 8–10 weeks of age, then every three weeks until at least 15–17 weeks of age. Ferrets have an increased risk of allergic reactions to vaccines. Pre-vaccination medication may be given and you will be asked to wait for 20–30 minutes after vaccination appointments so that we may monitor your ferret’s health.
- First rabies vaccination at 13 weeks of age or older with annual boosters throughout adulthood.
- Parasite prevention—Ferrets also need testing for intestinal parasites with treatment as needed. Heartworm prevention is started as early as possible.
If you are interested in learning more, VeterinaryPartner.com has some great resources.
If you have any questions about caring for small pets, please contact the helpful staff of PawSteps Veterinary Center.