Common Exotic Issues/Problems



Birds do their best to hide signs of illness because their lives literally depend on it in the wild. If they show weakness to their flock, or to predators, they can be abandoned, or picked off. This being said, signs that your bird will show you that she/he is ill may likely be subtle.

  • Common signs of illness in birds: fluffed appearance, sneezing, poor feather quality, change in stool color or consistency, sunken eyes, excessive itchiness, head shaking, noticeable respirations, and/or decreased appetite.

  • Signs of severe illness in birds: anorexia, sitting at bottom of cage, fluffed appearance with eyes closed, heavy breathing/tail bobbing.



Common reptile issues and signs to look for:

  • Retained shed – tail tip, or toes hold light skin, or are darkening. Eyes may be squinting/held shut.

  • Abscess formation – lump on body, or in/around mouth or eyes.

  • Respiratory infections – decreased appetite, open mouth breathing or bubbles from mouth.

  • Difficulty defecating and/or GI blockage – decreased defecation, or no defecation seen.

  • Hibernation state/brumation – extreme lethargy and inappetence due to low environmental temperatures.

  • Fungal lesions – yellow, or whitish-yellow lesion seen on skin that does not come off with shed.


Small Mammals

Mammalian issues and signs:

  • Respiratory infections – discharge from eyes, nose, or mouth. Audible respirations, sneezing, lethargy, dramatic breathing/heaving.

  • GI stasis – decreased or absent fecal output, decreased appetite or inappetence, painful, bloated abdomen, decreased temperature.

  • Uroliths – painful/straining while urinating, blood in urine, inability to urinate (urgent emergency).