Caring for Birds and Exotic Animals

At Pekin Veterinary Clinic, we take pride in our ability to provide excellent care to many types of animals, including exotics. While we mostly handle cats and dogs, our doctors and technicians are also well practiced with birds, reptiles, rabbits and pocket pets.


Caring for a bird can be a very rewarding experience. If, however, it is not possible to keep nails and beaks trimmed to a healthy length, more frequent veterinary visits will be needed.

For routine care, we offer comprehensive physical exams as well as beak, wing and nail trims. Unfortunately, like in cats and dogs, birds can fall ill. Unlike cats and dogs, illness in birds can be difficult to see. Some common, yet subtle signs of illness can include:

  • Increased sleeping
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • Changes in droppings
  • Increased respiratory effort


Over the years, our Pekin Veterinary team has treated many kinds of reptiles: ball pythons, leopard geckos, bearded dragons, boa constrictors and anoles to name a few. Just as in birds, illness in reptiles can be hard to spot. If you suspect something is wrong, consider:

  • Overall appearance
    • Changes in color
  • Feeding
    • Eating less or more
    • Eating different foods
  • Droppings
    • Thicker or thinner
    • Smaller, dry, hard
  • Behavior
    • Lethargic or hiding more
    • Digging, scratching, etc
    • Unusually tame or aggressive
  • Physical injury


Rabbits have quickly become the most popular exotic pet. With this increase has come increased knowledge on husbandry and medicine. Our veterinarians are kept up to date on these new findings to provide the best care for your pet.

Rabbits differ in many ways from cats and dogs, with a hind gut fermentation system, smaller thoracic cavity, higher metabolic rate and continually growing teeth. Keeping these in mind, we can diagnose and treat some of the most common ailments, such as:

  • Dental disease
  • Ear infections
  • Constipation
  • Urinary irritation
  • Upper respiratory infections

Pocket Pets

An umbrella term, “pocket pets” includes all small, cages animals like gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and sugar gliders. While all of these animals are different and specific anatomies and disease processes will need to be taken into account, what to look for in illness is surprisingly similar.

For sickness in these small critters, some of the most common involve:

  • Respiratory system
    • Sneezing
    • Nasal and ocular discharge
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Diarrhea
  • Musculoskeletal
    • Injury
  • Oral
    • Dental disease
    • Impaction

If you’re worried your bird or reptile may be sick, please schedule an appointment will us. After entering the clinic, a reception member will greet you, after which you’ll be placed into an appointment room. There, a technician will get a history to allow our veterinarians to better understand the problem. The doctor will then perform a complete physical and ask you a few more questions. If needed, a variety of diagnostics and procedures may be needed, including complete blood count, chemistry panel, urinalysis, fecal staining, radiology and/or ultrasound.

We also regularly perform surgeries on exotics, from routine procedures such as spay and neuter, to more complicated surgeries for mass removals, obstructed bowels and more.