• Feeding Your Degu Properly to Promote Good Health

    If you’re looking for an unusual pet to welcome to the family, consider a degu. These small rodents are native to the West Andean region of Chile and live together in communal groups, which is why some experts recommend that you get two or more together if you are going to have degus as pets. Most are very tame when they are domesticated at a young age, and they love to explore, which makes them fun pets for families. If you choose to have degus, then the first step is making sure that there is a veterinarian in your area that offers exotic pet care, so that care is there when you need it. You will also need to learn about their diet and make sure you have access to the right kinds of food to keep them healthy. Here is what you need to know about feeding your degu a healthy diet.

    Native Diet

    In the wild, about 60% of a degu’s diet consists of fiber. They eat the vegetation that grows in the Andes and the surrounding plains. They typically spend hours each day scavenging for food. In addition to vegetation, they will eat bark, seeds, and shrubs, depending on the season and what is available to them. In the wild, degus need a large amount of calories to prevent weight loss, so they often forage for food and store it in their burrows for times when they cannot otherwise find an adequate supply.

    Degus at Home

    Degus that are pets need far fewer calories than wild degus. Feed your pets a mixture of guinea pig food and hay, or look for a food that has been specifically crafted for degus. Avoid foods that contain molasses or sugar, as degus are very prone to diabetes. Your veterinarian can recommend the right mix of food and hay to ensure that your degus stay healthy.

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, many of our veterinarians have special training in exotic animal care, and we love to welcome your degus, snakes, ferrets and other pets to our animal clinic. Schedule an appointment at our animal clinic by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

  • What Are Some of the Signs That Your Bird Is Sick?


    It’s always difficult to know when your pet needs to see a veterinarian, but birds can be particularly challenging to read. If you notice the signs in this video happening with your bird, considering calling your veterinarian to make an appointment.

    Birds puff up their feathers for warmth and comfort. If your bird is sitting with his or her feathers puffed most of the time, he or she may be ill. You should also consider calling the animal clinic if your bird doesn’t eat for a day.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers care for dogs, cats, birds, and exotic pets in Dallas and is ready to help your sick bird feel better as quickly as possible. Schedule an appointment at our animal clinic by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

  • Gut Stasis in Guinea Pigs: Take Immediate Action to Save Your Pets

    emergency vet dallas guinea pig

    Gut stasis—also called gastrointestinal stasis or GI stasis—is one of the most common medical emergencies that guinea pigs experience. If you think that your guinea pig could have gut stasis, visit an emergency veterinary clinic right away for treatment. Delayed care could be life-threatening to your pet. Here is what you need to know.

    What is gut stasis?

    Gut stasis occurs when the contractions in the GI tract slow down. For guinea pigs, even a small slowdown in GI activity can be dangerous. Generally, gut stasis occurs as the result of an unhealthy diet. Feeding guinea pigs pellet foods without an adequate amount of roughage or too many foods with high sugar or grain contents can also be dangerous. Talking to your veterinarian about a healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of gut stasis. Gut stasis will also occur if your guinea pig stops eating for some reason. Such a loss of appetite could occur because of dental problems, pain, or stress for example.

    What are the symptoms?

    Gut stasis can cause decreased or no appetite, decreased activity, lethargy, and weakness. Guinea pigs may also experience diarrhea or decreased fecal production, in which fecal pellets are small and dry. Guinea pigs that don’t eat or produce feces for 24 hours should be seen at an emergency veterinary clinic right away, as they could be experiencing gut stasis.

    How is gut stasis treated?

    If your veterinarian determines that gut stasis is causing your guinea pig’s symptoms, he or she will usually provide subcutaneous fluid replacement and medications to stimulate gut motility. Pain medications can also help your guinea pig feel more comfortable. Getting your pet to eat is paramount for his or her recovery. If your guinea pig refuses to eat greens and grass hay, he or she may be fed a specially formulated gruel by syringe.

    Don’t delay seeking emergency care at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group if you suspect that your guinea pig could be suffering from gut stasis. You can learn more about emergency pet care and our AAHA accredited animal hospitals in Dallas and McKinney by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area.

  • Household Hazards for Small Pets

    animal hospital dallas

    Hazards lurk around the home for all pets, but there are some things that put small animals particularly at risk. What should you look for when you are safety-proofing your house for your small pet? Avoid a trip to the emergency vet clinic by keeping an eye out for these hazards.

    One major hazard for small pets is loose wires. They are frequently at just the right height for small animals, and chewing them can lead to burn injuries as well as poisoning from zinc and copper. When you drop a pill on the floor, your small pet can find it easily and is at risk of experiencing toxic effects. Larger animals and children are also potentially dangerous for small pets. Even friendly play with a larger animal or child can lead to devastating injuries to a small pet.

    If your pet does experience an urgent medical need, get emergency vet care from Chastain Veterinary Medical Group fast. Quick treatment could be lifesaving. To learn where to find one of our veterinary clinics in Dallas and McKinney, please call Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or by call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033.

  • Dealing with an Animal Medical Emergency

    A medical emergency is scary, but the truth is most pet families are bound to face at least one such crisis. When trouble strikes, seeing an emergency vet as soon as possible could be critical for your pet’s well-being.

    The best way to deal with an animal medical emergency is to know what you will do, who you will call, and where you will go, before an urgent need arises. Find out your veterinarian’s emergency care protocols and locate the nearest emergency vet to your home. Know how to contact your veterinarian in an Emergency – in our case the phone number for the Emergency Messaging System is (214) 439-7233. If an emergency does happen, act quickly but calmly. If you are anxious, your pet will be, too. At the emergency animal clinic, the staff will triage your pet’s case and ensure he or she gets the right care at the right time.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers emergency vet care in Dallas and the McKinney / Frisco areas during regular business hours and we share emergency care affiliations with several emergency-only animal clinics in the area. To speak to us about this or to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

  • The Importance of Fur De-Matting

    When your pet’s fur becomes long, it also becomes prone to tangles and matting. Matts can appear on the outer coat, where they are easy to see, or in the undercoat, where you may not notice them. Regular pet grooming is an important part of preventing matting in your pet.

    De-matting your animal as part of a regular pet grooming schedule will keep your pet comfortable and help to prevent health problems. Matted fur can be extremely painful, and the skin underneath matts can form sores and other irritations. Sometimes, debris becomes tangled in matts and further irritates your pet skin. During grooming, de-matting can be done gently to reduce discomfort for your pet. Brushing your pet regularly between pet grooming appointments will reduce the risk of matts.

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we are pleased to offer pet grooming in McKinney and Dallas by professional groomers who can remove matts while protecting your pet’s delicate skin. To make an appointment for grooming or to learn about other services we provide at our pet hospitals, call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • Could a Ferret Be a Good Pet for You?

    Are you looking for a fun pet that is a little outside of the norm? If so, then a ferret could be perfect for you. Ferrets are playful and energetic and require minimal care. If you choose to adopt a ferret, make sure there is an animal hospital near you that can provide care for your new furry friend. Not all veterinarians will treat ferrets.

    Watch this video to get some insight into life with a ferret. Ferrets love to play and can be great additions to families with kids, but they shouldn’t be left alone with babies or very young children, as they may nip. Ferrets can catch some human illnesses, such as the flu, and they should be spayed or neutered as you would any other pet.

    Chastain Animal Medical Group is pleased to offer exotic animal care in Dallas and in the McKinney/Frisco areas of Texas alongside our services for dogs, cats, and birds. Whether you need pet grooming, dog neutering, or exotic animal checkups, our vets are ready to help. Make an appointment by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

  • Are You Ready to Adopt an Exotic Pet?

    Does the pet of your dreams look a lot more like a snake or ferret than a dog or a cat? Exotic pets like these and many others can make great additions to many households, but there are a few extra considerations to keep in mind before you adopt. If you’re thinking about making an exotic pet part of your family, it could be helpful to have a talk with a veterinarian before the adoption so you understand what’s ahead. Just confirm first that your veterinarian is one of the few who will treat non-traditional pets. If so, then here are some other indications that you’re ready to become the caretaker of an exotic animal.

    You know what is legal.

    States all have regulations about what animals are not legal to own as pets, and local ordinances can further impact what you can and can’t own. If you don’t do your research, you could be facing legal charges, and your animal may be confiscated and euthanized. These laws vary from place to place but often cover reptiles and animals considered to be potentially dangerous. A local veterinarian may be able to offer advice.

    You understand the care demands.

    Unfortunately, some people adopt exotic animals and find out that they were unprepared for the level of care involved. Some people in the past have apparently released problem exotic animals into their communities in order to get rid of them, which is dangerous for both the animal and the people living in the area. Research your exotic animal carefully and ensure you have the time, patience, facilities and equipment required to take proper care of your pet. Many non-traditional animal pets do not like strangers and do not do well when they are re-homed, so you will need to be the central caregiver for the duration of the animal’s life.

    You have found a vet.

    Not all vets can or will treat exotic animals. Before you adopt, make sure you have access to an animal clinic that welcomes exotic pets and is experienced with treating them. You should also find out if emergency vet care and boarding is available for exotic pets in your area.

    The Chastain Veterinary Medical Group welcomes exotic pets to our pet hospitals in Dallas & McKinney. Make an appointment with an experienced vet for your exotic animal by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • Caring for Exotic Pets

    exotic animal care dallas When you have an exotic or non-traditional pet, it can often be difficult to find a veterinarian who has the experience and knowledge necessary to care for your specific type of pet. If you have a pet snake, lizard, rabbit, bird, ferret, or small mammal, you’ll want to find a veterinary clinic that offers veterinary services tailored to your exotic pet.

    Your veterinary clinic should have a veterinarian on staff who has the necessary training, education, or experience to treat your kind of pet, whatever species it is. This includes providing preventative care, diagnostic services, surgical care, general healthcare, and emergency vet services. The veterinarian does not necessarily need to be board certified in exotic animal care – very few actually are – but he or she should have extensive education and experience in the medicine and surgery of non-traditional pets.

    Our veterinarians at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group have extensive experience providing exotic animal care in the Dallas area. We offer comprehensive veterinary and emergency vet services for a variety of different animal species. We have taken the time to become knowledgeable about how to provide expert medical care for the exotic pets in our community. To make an appointment for your exotic pet at one of our veterinary clinics, call us today at (972) 239-1309 (north Dallas) or (972) 529-5033 (McKinney / Frisco).

  • The Importance of Exotic Pet Care

    Pets come in many shapes, sizes, and species. Your animal companion may not bark or meow, but that doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t deserve exceptional medical care. That is why it is so important to find an animal hospital nearby that can help you care for your exotic pet. Unfortunately there are not many veterinarians in the north Dallas or McKinney / Frisco areas of Texas that see exotic pets. But we do; we have seven doctors operating out two locations – north Dallas and McKinney / Frisco – that can help.

    The needs of a ferret or turtle or sugar glider can vary greatly from those of more common pets. Most veterinarian should be well versed in how to look after all breeds of cats and dogs, but as you consider your animal clinic options, you may want to inquire about his or her knowledge of your particular type of pet (if you have something unusual) and his or her philosophy of pet care. If you ever need help from an emergency vet, you and your pet deserve to see someone with the necessary expertise.

    Are you looking for an animal hospital for your feathered, shelled, or scaly friend? Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers comprehensive exotic pet care for many species of animal, including parrots, turtles, and non-venomous snakes. To speak with one of our associates about non-traditional pet care, please call Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (469) 759-7620 or call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney / Frisco at (972) 529-5033. You can also visit our website for information about the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group.