Ask The Vet - Dr. Anne Pierce, DVM

Head Tilt in Rabbits and Rodents

The rabbit in front of me looked fairly normal with the exception that she kept her head cocked to one side as if she were listening for voices that only a rabbit could hear emanating from the surface of the exam table. “She’s been otherwise acting pretty normal, eating and drinking and so on, she just doesn’t seem to want to move around as much and she always has her head tipped like that.” said her owner.

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Overgrown Teeth

Mr. Jarvis had Flopsy, the rabbit he had gotten for the kids at the state fair a few months ago, on the table.  She had seemed fine at first, but now se seemed to be losing weight and she had a swelling on her upper lip just to the left of her nose.  Every time he looked she was at the food dish and seemed to be eating continuously, so it didn’t make sense that she was losing weight.

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Today I want to talk about the virtue of rats as pets. Before most of you can say eeeeew gross, just hear me out. There are many people in this world who have discovered how delightful rats can be and I have many clients who are as dedicated to the health and well-being of their rats as anyone is to their dogs and cats. If you haven’t ever gotten to meet a pet rat personally you may be inclined to think of them as dirty vermin, but once you get to know one you may find that their charms are hard to resist.

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I used to think that having a reptile as a pet was a somewhat strange idea. They are interesting looking and exotic, but how much interaction do you really have with a lizard? Fluffy the boa constrictor isn’t exactly going to play fetch with you in the back yard. They seemed more like high maintenance decorations than pets. Then I met Alexis the iguana. She had come to my exotics rotation at CSU because her abdomen was so full of egg follicles that she looked like a sack full of shooter marbles. Her body couldn’t seem to choose whether to reabsorb them or let them mature into eggs so she could lay them, so she was stuck in limbo so stuffed with follicles that she was wasting away because she couldn’t eat. We spayed her, one of my first and most memorable surgeries, and she was quickly on the road to recovery.

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Ask Dr. Anne Pierce, DVM