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Do Reptiles Need Veterinary Care?

do reptiles need veterinary careOne of the most common misconceptions about exotic pets is that they don’t need veterinary care. Nothing could be further from the truth. Responsible owners of reptiles understand they are not low-maintenance pets. Reptiles require expert care throughout their lifetime, which depending on the species, could be more than 20 years! They also cannot regulate their body heat, so they will require strictly controlled environments with thermometers, heaters, humidifiers and special day and night light sources.

Snakes
Snakes need frequent veterinary checkups. Most are carnivorous, and prone to contracting any number of parasites as well as blister disease, respiratory and digestive disorders and mouth rot. Many types of snakes can live for decades and grow to more than 5-feet long. Snakes need at least a 30-gallon tank, fresh water and strictly controlled 
daytime and nighttime temperatures. Their habitats must be regularly cleaned.

Turtles & Tortoises
Turtles are water-lovers, while tortoises live on land. Domestic aquatic turtles need at least 30-gallon habitat with strictly controlled temperatures, water to swim in, an area to bask in. They eat a varied diet that includes vegetables, turtle food for extra nutrients, and in some cases, insects. The average lifespan of an aquatic turtle is 25 years.

Tortoises can live to a ripe old age, so they’re definitely a long-term commitment – especially when you realize they could outlive you. Tortoises are land dwelling herbivores who love vegetables, fruits and tortoise food. Keeping them as pets require a large environment – at least a 40-gallon tank or terrarium – with a shallow bowl of water. The temperature should be warm and humid. Be sure to check with your vet for specific requirements.

Iguanas
Green iguanas can live for more than 20 years and grow to more than 6 feet long! They’re strict vegans. Their diet is limited to a very specific range of greens and fruits. Enclosures for a full-grown iguana should be at least 18 feet long, humidified, and maintained at a particular temperature with specific timetables for periods of darkness and ultraviolet light. Iguanas are some of the most frequently abandoned pets – simply because the proper care requirements are so extensive. 

Responsible Pet Care for Reptiles
Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so they need temperature and brightness-regulating devices like:

  • Humidifier to keep air warm and moist
  • Daytime lights and heat sources. Reptile tanks need a “hot side” and a “cool side” so they can regulate their body temperature. 
  • Nighttime lights and heat sources. The cool side of the tan needs infrared heat lamps for nighttime use. Some reptiles – like iguanas – also require ultraviolet light.
  • Thermometers. Get two thermometers: one for the hot side and one for the cooler side.

Reptiles Also Require These Accessories

  • Hides where they can retreat from the heat and rest
  • Food and water bowls, some need deeper water for swimming
  • Tile, newspaper, or reptile carpet bedding
  • Rocks, logs, plants, and other accessories

Human Health Risks of Reptiles
Each year approximately 70,000 people in the US contract salmonellosis from direct or indirect contact with reptiles and amphibians. Children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illness or death.

Click here for a list of AZPetVet hospitals that treat exotics and reptiles.

The Importance of Dental Health

Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out:

Be Kind to Animals Week

It’s Be Kind to Animals Week! At AZPetVet, we believe everyone should be kind to animals every day. It’s at the heart of everything we do! This wonderful resource offers many amazing ways that you can be kind and support animals. Teachers and parent take special note – there are free lesson plans for children of all ages. Together, we can make a better world for animals and people too.Be Kind to Animals Week

World Penguin Day Facts

world penguin dayPenguins love relatively cold climates, but despite people’s beliefs, there are no penguins at the North Pole. They live in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, the Falkland Islands, the Galapagos Islands, and South Africa. 

Penguins don’t have any teeth! Instead, they have barbed tongues and throats to help them eat fish, squid, shrimp, krill, and other crustaceans.

There are more than 18 different penguin species. Emperor penguins are the tallest, reaching about 47 inches (they’re also the biggest, weighing up to 90 pounds) Little blue penguins (also known as fairy penguins) are the smallest and shortest of their species, measuring about 13 inches tall. Fairy penguins weigh about 2 pounds, making them the smallest of the species.

Normally, wild penguins will live an average of 15-20 years. However, the effects of climate change are putting more of their natural habitats and food sources at risk each year. As a result, some penguin colonies populations have shrunk by up to 80 percent.

Five Fun Facts About Frogs

Hoppy National Frog MonthHoppy National Frog Month! Here are five fun facts about frogs. Did you know…

1/ A group of frogs is called an army.

2/ Frogs absorb water through their skin, so they don’t need to drink water.

3/ Frogs are found all over the world – except for Antarctica. Far too cold!

4/ The world’s largest frog species is known as the ‘Goliath Frog’ – they live in Western Africa and grow to be around a foot long and weigh up to 7 pounds! In contrast, the world’s smallest frogs are less than 1/2 inch long.

5/ Frogs’ eyes and nose are on the very top of their heads which allows them to see and breathe while most of their body is underwater.

BONUS: The world’s most famous frog is of course, Kermit!