Exotics Health Information
Wild and Exotic Animals Need Care, Too
In keeping with the sense of uniqueness associated with such companion animals, many owners of exotic pets think they do not need the regular vaccinations and general wellness care associated with more conventional pets.
Any animal can be host to disease–causing microorganisms and while humans do not usually catch diseases from pets, it can happen. For example, children are likely to play with a pet and then put their hands in their mouths without washing. In addition, children tend to be more susceptible to catching pet-borne illnesses due to their still-developing immune systems. Certainly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems should take special precautions.
Cleanliness, common sense regarding contact with pets and their excretions, and regular veterinary exams and vaccines are the best defense against pet-borne disease from your exotic pet or wildlife herd. Some commonly transmitted diseases to look for are:
- Salmonellosis—A bacteria spread through animal feces.
- Ringworm—A fungal infection of the skin, hair, or nails easily passed to children through handling pocket pets such as mice, rats, and guinea pigs.
- Scabies—A skin disease caused by mites that burrow under the skin.
- Strep throat—Though it is not common, it is thought to be passed to humans by kissing, licking, or food-related oral contact between humans and animals.
The best prevention for disease in animals, as well as the spread of diseases to your family, is to get every new animal an initial wellness exam as soon as it is introduced into your home or herd. Regular exams and appropriate vaccinations are always your best defense.
Find answers to many questions about exotic animals on our FAQs page
View our informational resources for the type of animal that is of most interest to you