As diarrhea is common in dogs and cats, so does it occur in exotic pets. Animals like rabbits, turtles, hamsters, and birds are generally prone to this condition. You may regularly see your exotic pet interacting normally in their enclosure and munching with their nimble teeth when eating. If you’re a passionate owner of the mentioned animals, you’re fully aware when they exhibit signs of gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea.
So what are the common causes of this condition, and how can you stop it? Keep reading below to find out.
What Causes Diarrhea in Exotic Animals?
A few symptoms can be worrying and even messy for pet owners when their exotic animals have diarrhea. Some notable symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, excessive drooling, bloody and watery stool, and complete loss of appetite. If your pet has been showing signs of the mentioned disease for more than a day, this is when it gets alarming and needs medical attention.
Here are five common culprits of diarrhea and their remedies to help ease your worries.
Veterinarians often prescribe antibiotics to bunnies with respiratory infections and hamsters with skin abscesses, pneumonia, and Tyzzer disease. However, these animals sometimes react negatively to antibiotic prescriptions, often resulting in diarrhea. So if your pet starts having watery or bloody diarrhea while being treated with antibiotics, immediately take them to an avian animal clinic.
2. Changes in Diet
Improper diet is the most common cause of diarrhea in exotic pets. If you have rabbits, turtles, or hamsters, you should never feed them processed foods not specifically designed for their digestive system. A bunny’s diet should consist of 80% grass hay, as they are herbivores. Hamsters must eat a compound pellet ration or a mixture of seeds (pumpkin, sesame, wheat, sunflower, corn kernels) to meet their nutritional needs.
If you want to try healthy alternatives, ensure that the food you’re feeding them is 100% safe for their health. Slowly introduce new foods to their diet to avoid upsetting their stomach. You can also inquire from facilities like Loving Hands Animal Clinic for healthier food options and recommended diets for your pet’s optimal health.
3. Dietary Indiscretion
Other reasons for gastrointestinal issues are overeating and feeding spoiled foods. While providing healthy food options to your exotic pet is great, overfeeding them may do more harm than good. Feed them moderate to average amounts of their recommended diet to prevent constipation and upset digestion.
4. Parasitic Infections
Intestinal parasites are often found in animal stool and water sources. If your pet drinks contaminated water or eats their stool, they may consume parasitic cysts, which frequently lead to diarrhea and parasite infections. Loving Hands Animal Clinic offers internal medicine for addressing conditions like this in cats and dogs.
Worms in rabbits and protozoa in hamsters are common parasites that can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Although IBD is among common gastrointestinal disorders in humans, this condition is also present and being investigated in many kinds of animals, including exotic pets. The most common sign of inflammatory bowel disease is diarrhea and weight loss. Although there is no known cure for the mentioned condition, it can be managed with several medications and therapy to reduce inflammation.
Now that you know the causes of diarrhea in exotic pets, you can make simple adjustments at home to alleviate their condition. If your pet has a single bout of diarrhea and is acting normally, there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if they are lethargic, vomiting, rejecting food, or showing signs of weakness in 24-72 hours, veterinary care should be sought immediately to get them back in full health.