Illustrated Articles

Nutrition

  • African greys are vulnerable to both calcium and/or vitamin A deficiencies, as well as obesity. Feeding a well-balanced diet and making sure your parrot consumes the proper proportions of foods offered will help prevent the development of these conditions. Pellets are the ideal food for your pet African grey and should represent approximately 75-80% of your bird's diet. The remainder of the diet should be comprised of fresh fruits, vegetables, and a small amount of seed (if any).

  • Amazons are vulnerable to calcium and vitamin A deficiencies, and when fed a predominantly seed-based diet, they are prone to obesity. Feeding a well-balanced diet in the proper proportions will help prevent the development of these conditions. This handout provides guidelines for providing your Amazon parrot with an optimal diet to thrive and flourish.

  • The bearded dragon is a very popular small to medium-sized pet lizard. Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal-based foods, including insects. They should consume a diet that is 50% insects and 50% green leafy vegetables. This handout is a general guide for feeding pet bearded dragons a nutritious and balanced diet.

  • Bearded dragons are susceptible to several health problems; understanding them will help you prevent them from occurring in your pet and know when to seek veterinary attention. Problems described in this handout include salmonellosis, avascular necrosis, tail rot, abscesses, and dystocia (egg binging).

  • Budgerigars (parakeets) originated in the grasslands of Australia. In the wild, they eat a variety of seeds as well as natural vegetation. Pet budgies fed an all-seed diet may develop a number of nutritional deficiencies. It is recommended to feed a mix of pellets, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Pet canaries should be fed a well-balanced and varied diet at all times. Several commercially formulated pelleted diets in various colors, shapes, and sizes have been developed to meet all birds' nutritional needs. Your bird's health depends on how well it is fed.

  • This handout provides basic guidelines for feeding a pet chinchilla a healthy and balanced diet tailored to the specific needs of chinchillas.

  • Turtles commonly suffer from vitamin A deficiency, respiratory diseases, abscesses, shell infections and fractures, and parasites. Vitamin A deficiency occurs as a result of feeding turtles an inappropriate diet. Symptoms include a lack of appetite, lethargy, swelling of the eyelids, swelling of the ear, kidney failure, and respiratory infections. Respiratory tract infections are most often caused by bacteria. Abscesses are treated surgically. Shell infections can be challenging to treat. Gastrointestinal parasites are treated with appropriate deworming medications. Seek immediate veterinary care if there is any deviation from normal in your pet turtle.

  • There are several problems that can occur in aquatic turtles. Cystic calculi occur in turtles when minerals from the diet form crystals in the urine, which stick together and form stones, often resulting from improper nutrition and/or dehydration. A prolapse occurs when an organ protrudes from the vent. Regardless of the tissue or organ prolapsed, all can become traumatized, become dried out, or suffer from compromised blood flow and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. If you notice that your turtle's shell is growing irregularly, it may be a sign of malnutrition or metabolic bone disease. Any turtle whose shell is abnormal should be checked by a veterinarian so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Although shell fractures can be serious, the shell is bone and often can be repaired. Any trauma to the shell should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian immediately. Green algae growing on the outside of the shell occurs commonly and can be cleaned off with periodic brushing of the shell with disinfectant cleaners. The skin of turtles periodically sheds off in pieces. In the water, shed skin appears as a whitish, "fuzzy" substance. Although turtles are certainly not the only reptiles that can carry Salmonella, most turtles carry the infection asymptomatically. Wash your hands thoroughly with disinfectant soap every time after handling, cleaning, or feeding your reptile or its cage items to help minimize risks of contracting salmonellosis. Most veterinarians feel it is best to try to prevent captive red-eared sliders from hibernating. Dystocia occurs the female turtle is unable to pass her eggs, is a common problem in reptiles, and can be life-threatening. A turtle with dystocia typically does not eat and rapidly becomes sick, lethargic, or unresponsive and should be seen by a veterinarian familiar with reptiles immediately.

  • Turtles are omnivorous, eating both animal protein and vegetable matter. As juveniles, they are mainly carnivorous, become more omnivorous as they age. When feeding turtles, offering a variety of food is important to help stimulate the turtle to eat and provide nutritional balance. The carnivorous portion of their diet should consist of commercial turtle or fish pellets, as well as a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. The plant portion of the diet should be made up of vegetables, preferably ones that float and can be left in the water for the turtle to nibble on throughout the day. Some veterinarians suggest adding a balanced, commercially available multivitamin once per week with an additional source of calcium, such as a calcium block or cuttlebone, twice per week. Having a well-functioning filtration system that is cleaned regularly is key to ensuring good water quality. Turtles and other reptiles commonly carry Salmonella bacteria on their skin or in the gastrointestinal tracts, so always wash your hands thoroughly after feeding, cleaning, or handling turtles.