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Friday, June 8, 2018

Caring for Bearded Dragons

To keep things interesting on the blog I thought a post about Bearded Dragon care would be fun. They are the most common reptile pets we see in the clinic and are native to Australia. There are a few reasons these guys make popular pets. They tend to have very laid back demeanors and seem to enojy interacting with people. They also have less demanding husbandry requirements when compared with many other repltiles. That being said I recommend doing your research prior to getting one (just as with any pet!).

photo courtesy of http://www.lizardtypes.com/bearded-dragon/

Bearded dragons live on average 10 years in captivity and grow to be anywhere from 12 to 20 inches. They generally should be housed alone although sometimes juveniles can be housed together. A single adult dragon requires a minimum enclosure size of about 48 inches long x 19 inches wide x 22 inches high (75 gallons). The tank should have both basking and hiding areas, and the addition of some branches and rocks would be welcome by most beardies. The best substrate for the bottom on the cage is up for some debate amoung the experts but at Winrose we do not recommend using sand or gravel on the bottom of the cage. This is due to problems seen with gastrointestinal impactions and irriations to the eyes and mouth. Repticarpet is a good option or paper towel which can be easily changed.

Heating and cooling of the enclosure is very important. There must be a warm and a cool side so that the dragon can choose where to go to regulate their body tempterature as needed. During the day the temperature should be 24 degrees C on the cool side and up to 30 degrees C on the warm side. There should also be a basking area that should be in the range of 32-37 degrees C. You should have at least 3 thermometers in the enclosure (one for each temperature zone) and they should ideally be placed where the Beardie spends most of its time. Special lighting is required for most reptiles, including Bearded Dragons. UVB light is required for calcium metabolism. A specific UVB light should be purchased and changed every three to six months. 


Juveniles should be fed a diet that is 50% vegetables and 50% insects. Adults should be fed about 80% vegetables and 20% insects. Ideal veggies include dark leafy greens such as romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, collard greens, baby kale, endive, parsely, bok choy, broccoli leaves and florets. Small amounts of other veggies can be given such as carrots, squash and peas. Greens should be chopped or shredded and sprayed with water before being offered on a plate once or twice a day.

Crickets can be offered once or twice daily and should be no longer than the width of the dragon's head. They should be gut loaded and dusted with a calcium supplement 4-5 times a week. Fresh cool water should be available daily in a shallow dish that the bearded dragon can easily climb in and out of. You can also encouage drinking and healthy shedding by misting with water once daily and doing a warm, shallow water soak twice weekly for about 15 minutes.

Thanks as always for reading!
Dr Ingrid

Please note that much of the information from this article was sourced from http://www.seavs.com/exotic-pet-care-information/ which is an excellent source for husbandry information for all types of exotic pets.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Meet Jessica S our employee of the month for June 2018. Jess has been at Winrose Animal Hospital since August 2016. She has two dogs Gary and Oakley. Jess enjoys spending time with her two boys and is the owner/operator of her own Jewellery Business Copper and Pine.  Tell us why you think Jess is so special!
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Meet Danielle L. our employee of the Month for May 2018. Danielle has been at Winrose since February 2017. She graduated in 2016 with a Veterinary Office Assistant Diploma from Roberston College. Danielle has two dogs, Bowser and Baylee, whom she loves very much. Bowser is a German Shepherd and Baylee is a mix between a Husky, Border Collie and Akita. You can follow them on Instagram @bayleeandthebowser and enjoy daily photos of them.  Danielle has a special interest in large breed dogs such as German Shepherds, Mastiffs and Great Danes.  She also plans on taking them Animal Health Technologist course in 2019 at Red River College
Thursday, April 26, 2018
We are excited to announce Dr. Tim Bowles will be starting at Winrose Animal Hospital Tuesday May 1, 2018.  Dr. Bowles graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001.  He brings many years of experience with him as well as an interest in surgery and endoscopy.  Please help us welcome him to our practice.  We know he is looking forward to meeting all of our great clients!
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Meet Tara O. our team member of the month for April.
Tara has been at Winrose Animal Hospital since 2016. Tara is actively involved in all of our community events for the Winrose Warriors and Rainbow Buddies Program. She enjoys all the technical skills she gets to use on a day to day basis at Winrose. She has a keen interest in Dental Radiology. In her spare time she enjoys camping with her family, yearly skiing trips and spending time with her dog Trixie! Please take a moment to tell us why you think Tara is so special!
Monday, March 5, 2018

Guinea Pig Nutrition and Dental Health

Time for some guinea pig talk! These fuzzy little guys (or not so fuzzy in the case of skinny pigs) can make great pets and are very endearing.  For those who are new to the world of guinea pigs I wanted to share some information on their ideal diet and their dental health. Dental problems are one of the main concerns we see guinea pigs in the clinic for.


Diet

Diet is an essential component of keeping your pig healthy. Guinea pigs should eat a diet that consists of a combination of fresh Timothy Hay, a well balanced pellet such as Oxbow's Essential Adult Guinea Pig diet, and a mix of fresh greens.  For pigs over 6 month of age we recommend feeding 1/8 to 1/4  cup of pellets per day in addition to unlimited grass hay. Fresh foods should not make up more than 10-15% of the daily food. Changes to the diet should be made gradually as they have very sensitive digestive tracts.  Leafy green veggies such as spinach, turnip greens, parsley and dandelion greens are good options for fresh foods. Leafy greens should be the main component of the fresh foods with other vegetables and fruits being offered in moderation.  These can include things like apple, carrots, cilantro, cucumber and berries.  Some foods to avoid include raw beans, iceberg lettuce, and shelled nuts or seeds, rhubarb and long celery stalks. 

Guinea pigs also require a vitamin C supplement because they do not produce their own vitamin C (just like people). The best way to do this is by giving a 1/4 to 1/2 of a human 100mg vitamin C tablet once daily. 

Keep in mind that hay is essential to keeping your guinea pigs digestive tract working and for keeping the teeth from overgrowing and developing problems.

Dental Health

Guinea pigs have twenty teeth in total. They are all open rooted teeth and this means that are continuously growing. They rely on their food to help wear them down and keep the teeth from overgrowing.   You will see four incisors at the front of the mouth, two on top and two on the bottom. The other teeth are premolars and molars and are difficult to see due to the guinea pigs large cheeks. In the clinic we use a special tool call a speculum to help us to look in the back of the mouth and check the teeth for problems. Sometimes sedation may be required to get a proper look in the mouth. The most common problem we see is the molars and premolars becoming overgrown. This can occur if the pig is born with a malocclusion or if the do not eat a proper diet. The teeth can grow very quickly and if a pig stops eating due to an illness they may also develop overgrown teeth that need to be trimmed.

If teeth grow too long they can rub on the cheeks or tongue causing painful sores and infection. Some pigs may require regular dental checks and tooth trims.  In extreme cases the lower teeth can grow towards the middle of the tongue from both sides, trapping the tongue under the teeth. This requires an emergency tooth trim to free the tongue to allow the guinea pig to eat.
 


this picture shows how overgrown teeth can rub on the tongue and cheeks

Guinea pigs can also develop other dental health problems such as elongated tooth roots, tooth root infections and overgrown incisors. It is important to have your guinea pig checked yearly to ensure their teeth are looking good and to identify any potential problems early on.

A side view of a guinea pigs jaw and teeth on X-ray
I hope this has been a helpful and informative blog post. If you want more information on guinea pig care call or stop by the clinic for our guinea pig care package.
As always thanks for reading!
Dr Ingrid

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Meet Jackie F our Team member of the Month for March

Jackie has been at Winrose since 2017. After many years working in advertising and marketing, Jackie is living her dream of working with animals. She shares her home with her teenaged son, 3 rambunctious dogs, a guinea pig and several fish. Jackie has a special interest in the surgical procedures we do here at Winrose and she can often be found cuddling with many of the various pets we see in the clinic. Please take a moment to tell us why you think Jackie is great employee!