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Nutrition

  • Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds' different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Different species of birds often require different foods. Poor nutrition is a common reason for many health problems in birds.

  • Pet owners may not realize that caffeine can be harmful to their pets. They also may not know that many foods and drinks in their cupboards contain caffeine. This particular chemical boost can be toxic for them.

  • Nutrition is commonly neglected with pet birds. Pet canaries should be fed a well-balanced and varied diet at all times. Several types of commercially formulated pelleted diets in various colors, shapes, and sizes have been developed to meet all birds' nutritional needs.

  • Treats are a great way to bond with your cat but can be a major contributor to obesity. Treats should be no more than 5-10% of your cat’s caloric intake as they add calories, and in greater quantities, can create a nutritional imbalance. Excellent treats that are low calorie and satisfying are vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower as well as air-popped popcorn. Many homemade treat recipes can be found on the internet but be sure that these are not too high in calories or contain inappropriate ingredients for your individual cat. Check the recipe with your veterinarian before having your cat taste test them!

  • Chinchillas require a high fiber diet and should be offered grass hay (such as Timothy hay or other low calcium hays such as orchard grass, oat hay, or meadow hay) free choice (available 24 hours a day). Hay should be the main component of their diet. Fresh clean water must be available at all times.

  • The general condition of your cat's skin and coat are good indicators of her health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy. Selective breeding has led to the development of cats with a myriad of different coat characteristics requiring varying grooming needs. In order to maintain the skin and hair in a healthy state, your cat also requires a properly balanced diet.

  • Turtles commonly suffer from vitamin A deficiency, respiratory diseases, abscesses, shell infections and fractures, and parasites. Vitamin A deficiency occurs as a result of feeding turtles an inappropriate diet. Symptoms include a lack of appetite, lethargy, swelling of the eyelids, swelling of the ear, kidney failure, and respiratory infections. Respiratory tract infections are most often caused by bacteria. Abscesses are treated surgically. Shell infections can be challenging to treat. Gastrointestinal parasites are treated with appropriate deworming medications. Seek immediate veterinary care if there is any deviation from normal in your pet turtle.

  • There are several problems that can occur in aquatic turtles. Cystic calculi occur in turtles when minerals from the diet form crystals in the urine, which stick together and form stones, often resulting from improper nutrition and/or dehydration. A prolapse occurs when an organ protrudes from the vent. Regardless of the tissue or organ prolapsed, all can become traumatized, become dried out, or suffer from compromised blood flow and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. If you notice that your turtle's shell is growing irregularly, it may be a sign of malnutrition or metabolic bone disease. Any turtle whose shell is abnormal should be checked by a veterinarian so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Although shell fractures can be serious, the shell is bone and often can be repaired. Any trauma to the shell should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian immediately. Green algae growing on the outside of the shell occurs commonly and can be cleaned off with periodic brushing of the shell with disinfectant cleaners. The skin of turtles periodically sheds off in pieces. In the water, shed skin appears as a whitish, "fuzzy" substance. Although turtles are certainly not the only reptiles that can carry Salmonella, most turtles carry the infection asymptomatically. Wash your hands thoroughly with disinfectant soap every time after handling, cleaning, or feeding your reptile or its cage items to help minimize risks of contracting salmonellosis. Most veterinarians feel it is best to try to prevent captive red-eared sliders from hibernating. Dystocia occurs the female turtle is unable to pass her eggs, is a common problem in reptiles, and can be life-threatening. A turtle with dystocia typically does not eat and rapidly becomes sick, lethargic, or unresponsive and should be seen by a veterinarian familiar with reptiles immediately.

  • Critical care patients in the hospital can often become malnourished which can delay healing and recovery. Wound healing and tissue repair are intimately interrelated with nutrition. In a hospitalized critical care patient receiving inadequate nutrition, normal cellular metabolic activities are disrupted which can lead to problems with medications; either with inadequate drug activity or creating a relative overdose if drug elimination is slowed. If a cat is not eating well on their own, one of various types of feeding tubes can be placed to help the cat receive adequate nutrition.

  • Critical care patients in the hospital can often become malnourished which can delay healing and recovery. Wound healing and tissue repair are intimately interrelated with nutrition. In a hospitalized critical care patient receiving inadequate nutrition, normal cellular metabolic activities are disrupted which can lead to problems with medications; either with inadequate drug activity, or creating a relative overdose if drug elimination is slowed. If a dog is not eating well on their own, one of various types of feeding tubes can be placed to help the dog receive adequate nutrition.

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