Ask the Vet: Questions about exotic pets

This entry is article 2 of 6 in the September 2013 issue

Questions about exotic pets answered by Dr. Jennifer Graham

1. My rabbit or guinea pig is not eating – what is wrong?
Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas should be eating and pooping regularly. Any decreased appetite or fecal production could be a sign of GI stasis (also known as ‘ileus’). There are many causes for this including inadequate fiber in the diet, dental disease, toxin exposure, and others. You should schedule an appointment to have your pet evaluated by a doctor familiar with these species ASAP if they are showing this sign since this could be a life-threatening situation. Continue reading

Jubi’s story

This entry is article 3 of 6 in the September 2013 issue

JubiFaucherName:  Jubi

Age and breed:  17-year-old large African Grey Parrot

Medical challenge:  Jubi arrived at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals emergency room because he had been straining to and screaming when attempting to defecate.

Treatment plan:  Dr. Jennifer Graham, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, Dipl. ACZM noted Jubi’s rough feather quality and a blunted projection on the roof of his mouth, which can indicate nutritional deficiencies. When Jubi’s blood was drawn and X-rays were taken, the Zoological Companion Animal Medicine department determined Jubi was not, in fact, a male parrot as the owner believed, but was a female parrot who was egg-bound. (External features on a parrot don’t easily indicate male or female, and this was the first egg Jubi ever laid.) Continue reading

How to avoid mosquitoes and keep you and your pets safe

This entry is article 4 of 6 in the September 2013 issue

People naturally try to avoid mosquitoes, since no one wants the uncomfortable itching that results from most bites. Reported cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the West Nile virus are two possible deadly mosquito borne-illnesses, and are serious reasons to take increased measures to keep you—and your pets—safe. Continue reading

Specialty spotlight

This entry is article 5 of 6 in the September 2013 issue

Meet the Zoological Companion Animal Medicine Team at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals

Jennifer Graham, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, Dipl. ACZM
Dr. Jennifer Graham is board-certified through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian medicine as well as a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine. She’s an assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and is particularly interested in Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs /inflammation, oncology in exotic animal species and gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits and rodents. In her spare time, Dr. Graham enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, and fly fishing (although she never catches anything!).

Julie DeCubellis, MS, DVM
Dr. Julie DeCubellis is one of the newest members of Tufts’ faculty. In 2009, Dr. DeCubellis became one of only several veterinarians in the country to enroll in a combined three-year avian and exotic mammal residency program through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, making her dual-board-eligible for avian and exotic companion mammal certification. In addition to treating exotic species, she teaches clinical skills to second-year veterinary students and lectures to interns and residents. Dr. DeCubellis lives with her husband, Kyle, a pediatric pathologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, their twins, four dogs, two cats, a rose-breasted cockatoo, and a flock of chickens.

Jessica Leonard, CVT
Jessica Leonard is a certified veterinary technician. She discovered her love of working with exotic animals while working with referencing veterinarians in private practice.  In April 2012, she helped start the new Zoological Companion Animal Medicine department at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Hear what our clients are saying:

This entry is article 6 of 6 in the September 2013 issue

I’ve brought my dogs (both my own and some fosters) to Tufts over many years, in general, everyone is courteous, empathetic, and helpful. This particular visit was one with my birds in my parrot rescue, as was a visit with another rescue bird shortly after she came to Tufts, and both times Dr. Graham was caring, attentive, gentle with the birds, and informative. Dr. Graham is a great addition  to Tufts!

Kathleen Lenehan, Agawam, Mass.

I was very pleased with the services I got for my sick rabbit, Hank at Tufts. Generally emergency room vets do not have experience with rabbits. However, with the help of Dr. Graham (exotics) , Dr. Edelstein was very professional and caring about my rabbit and I felt very comfortable with her handling this case. I appreciated both doctor’s concerns over not only my rabbit but me as well. I received so much better service at Tufts than I have at other Emergency centers and know where to go now should any of my rabbits need emergency services.

Diane Clancy, Medway, Mass