Birds are the most popular pets in Australia today. Birds are available in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes and behaviours.  From small budgies to large macaws and from one bird to entire aviaries full. Birds are beautiful to look at and provide a lot of joy to the pet owner. That being said, it is important to research your potential pet before purchasing a bird as they have unique requirements for cage sizes, nutrition, socialisation and more. If you have more than one type of bird, they may require completely different nutrition and housing to be happy. It is also important to have your birds checked regularly to make sure they stay in good health. It is unfortunate that birds do not show signs of illness until they are deathly ill as this is part of a survival mechanism. This means that you need to be extra vigilant and also keep up preventative health checks in a regular basis. Health examines will use diagnostic testing and physical examination to determine if there is any signs of a potential illness of disease. The sooner they are diagnosed, the greater the chance of a good outcome.

New bird check

We can do an assessment of your bird to check for abnormalities and illness. This is especially important if you already have other birds to prevent disease from spreading when you bring the new bird home. If this is your first bird, you can also use this time to get information and advice on nutrition, healthcare and more. You should also have your birds checked at least twice a year. These visits can include discussions on diet, environment and behaviour.  Checks usually include a full physical, faecal and crop examination. We also trim nails if required. We can do wing trimming if required. If the bird has worms, direct worming can also be done during these check-ups.

Some of the most common tests that are performed for diagnostic purposes include:

  • Microscopic faecal examination to look for parasites and bacteria and levels
  • Oral and Crop examination using swabs to check yeasts, bacteria and parasites
  • Gram stain to check for specific bacteria in order to determine the best antibiotic to use
  • A culture may also be done to check for fungi, yeast and bacteria types in recurrent infections
  • Blood tests for anaemia, inflammation and infections such as “Beak and Feather” disease
  • Psittacosis (Chlamydia) testing if exposed to a chlamydia infection
  • Biochemistry testing via blood sample to check blood sugar, calcium, electrolytes, liver and kidney function.
  • DNA sexing via blood sample to check gender for some birds
Possible Signs of illness:
  • Appearing abnormally sleepy
  • Huddled of fluffed up
  • Not making any sounds, very quiet
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Changes in faeces (colour/consistency)
  • Abnormal regurgitation
  • Swelling, bleeding, inflammation, wounds
  • Changes in appetite

If you suspect your bird is ill, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Delays in treatment can be fatal. Contact us immediately in the case of illness so we can start treatment as soon as we determine a diagnosis.

Small Mammals

Besides cats, dogs, rats and mice, we also treat other small mammals such as guinea pigs and rabbits. We can offer general consulting and breeding advice as well as vaccinations, general surgery, desexing, microchipping, dentistry and preventative health services.  We can also offer advice on the best environments and diets for your pet.


Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is fatal to unvaccinated rabbits. It is caused by the calicivirus and there are a number of different strains. To keep your rabbit protected, they should be vaccinated every 6 months. This is not a cure-all as not all strains are covered by the vaccination. There is no cure and the rabbit may not even show any signs before passing away. Possible symptoms if there are any include fever, lethargy, restlessness, poor appetite or bleeding from the nose. This disease is spread through faeces, urine and other secretions. While it is commonly contracted from other rabbits, it can be spread by other small animals or by coming in to contact with the virus in an environment. The virus can stay in an area for up to 3 months.

There are some extra precautions that can be done to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease.  Keeping your bunnies indoors is a good option or ensuring that no wild rabbits can come in to contact with them in their enclosure.  Avoid contact with other rabbits and wash your hands, clothing and shoes before entering your bunny’s enclosure if you have been in contact with any other animals. Prevent flies and fleas coming in to contact with the rabbits through using flea medication and mosquito nets if there are any around. The rabbit enclosure should be kept clean and all food that is not eaten within a day should be removed to prevent encouraging flies.

We can also advise on nutrition and day to day care of your guinea pigs and bunnies.  If your pet has a discharge, wound, bleeding lumps or there is a marked change in appetite or behaviour, bring them in for a comprehensive check-up. As with most small animals, the sooner they are diagnosed, the better the change of a successful recovery.

Rats / Mice

Rats and mice need to have a secure, safe enclosure which is cleaned regularly and aerated to avoid the build-up of ammonia. They need to be kept in an area which is free of draughts and protected from extremes of weather including heat and cold. They need to be fed a low calorie, low fat, balanced diet for optimal health.

We can advise on worming and mite prevention in your rodents as well as desexing. Regular health examinations will help ensure that your little pet lives as long as possible. Rats are generally intelligent, affectionate and interactive and can be taught tricks and other trained behaviour. We get quite a few rats and mice coming in for check-ups and health care. We recommend rats over mice when it comes to keeping them as pets purely based on sociability, size and a longer lifespan. Rats also have far less odour if their cages are kept clean.

Rats and mice are generally social animals and are usually kept in groups. If they are not desexed or kept in same sex groups, this can lead to breeding and a lot more rodents than you were wanting as pets. Some rats do not do well with others and may need to be housed separately. Mice can be kept in groups of females only but more than one male in a cage will end up in a fight.


It is important that your rats and mice are not overcrowded and that the cages are well ventilated.  The bigger the cage, the better but ensure the wire spacing is small enough to prevent escape. Aquariums are not a good idea as it can lead to respiratory diseases due to high levels of ammonia, even if cleaned often.  Ensure clean water daily and a healthy diet. You can also add in hides and toys to keep your little pets active and healthy.

Disease and health

It is important to choose your pets well. It is often better to purchase from an established breeder rather than a pet shop. This is mostly due to the possibility of mycoplasmal respiratory disease. If you see rats in the cages that are showing breathing difficulty or are sneezing a lot, they may be ill. Once cages are contaminated with the disease it can be very difficult to eradicate and the next rats that live in the cage are likely to pick up the disease.  This is also why it is often better to purchase a new cage instead of a second hand one so you do not have the chance of your new pet picking up illnesses from the cage.

Female mice and rats often develop mammary tumours as they get older. These can be removed surgically and prolong their lives. Males can be desexed to reduce odour and prevent them from fighting with each other.  Rats often suffer from hair loss, itchy skin and dermatitis that may require treatment. We recommend that you give your rats and mice a once over every week and include a weight check. Sudden weight changes often signify a problem.

Other signs of illness include:

  • Hiding or not coming out of their hide as much as they usually would
  • Being lethargic and not moving as much as normal
  • Being picky over their food or generally eating less or not at all
  • Changes in urination and faeces
  • Discharge from mouth, nostrils or eyes
  • Dragging legs or appearing paralysed
  • Wounds, bruises, swelling, bleeding
  • Bleeding gums or broken teeth
  • Wheezing, sneezing, breathing difficulty
  • Lumps (even small ones)

Any signs of illness should be taken seriously as by the time symptoms are showing it is generally already quite advanced. Don’t hesitate in getting assistance as soon as possible.


Reptiles are becoming more and more popular as pets. Some of the more common reptiles kept as pets include lizards, geckoes, snakes and turtles. Some people even have pet crocodiles. Reptiles cannot be treated under a blanket list as each species is very different and has different needs and health care. Before purchasing a reptile, it is important to research their requirements and needs so that they can live long, healthy lives. Most of the illnesses treated by vets are preventable and are caused through elements being missing in their diet or environment.

Preventative check-ups

Reptiles don’t show illness and disease in the same way as cats and dogs do. By the time you notice that your reptile appears unwell, the illness is quite advanced. This means that preventative health exams are even more important. These health examinations usually make use of diagnostic tests and physical examinations to check for potential illness or disease. The sooner these are diagnoses, the better the chance for recovery.

New pet assessment

We recommend bringing your new reptile in for assessment so we can assist in checking for illness and abnormalities. Some diseases can spread quickly and if you already have other reptiles you may expose them to the illness or disease from your new pet if they are not checked out before you take them home. If this is your first reptile, we can also assist with advice on care, habitat and potential health issues your new pet may experience. We recommend that you have your reptiles checked out at least twice a year to improve the chances of finding problems before they become potentially fatal. It is important to give us information on the enclosure and diet and if possible, bring in a faecal sample for examination.  If you have a turtle, a sample of the tank water (around 500mls) will also help improve diagnosis.

Common tests

Faecal examinations are done to check for the presence of parasites, yeast and bacteria levels.

A swab is done in the mouth to check for parasites, yeasts and bacteria levels.

Blood samples may be taken to check for anaemia, inflammation and infection.

A blood sample may also be done to check calcium levels, blood sugar, electrolyte levels and liver or kidney function.

Signs of Illness
  • Lethargy, slow or no movement
  • Moving abnormally or not moving one or more limbs
  • Behavioural changes such as increased aggression
  • Changes in appetite or not eating at all
  • Change in consistency or colour of faeces
  • Loss of weight
  • Hiding away more than usual
  • Swellings, inflammation, bleeding, wounds
  • Discharge from vent, mouth, eyes or nostrils

It is vitally important that your reptiles get treatment as soon as possible when they show signs of illness as they are likely to be critically ill at that stage.  Preventative health checks are important to the long term health of your pet. We are available to assist in the care of your pet as well as to offer advice on their diet and environment to prevent certain diseases such as MBD.