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Medicating Exotic Pets

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Exotic Mammals

You may find yourself wondering, “How do I give my _______ (parrot, hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, hedgehog, etc.) medication?” Because we see so many exotics at Olathe Animal Hospital, we are faced with this question a lot. The answer lies in compounding! Compounding is the process of taking the original form of a medication (usually a pill large enough for a 50 lb dog!) and converting it into a palatable (tasty) concoction that allows accurate and easy dosing.

For example, a rat with a respiratory infection might be prescribed enrofloxacin (Baytril) and doxycycline. The average Baytril dose for a rat might be 2.5 mg. But the smallest Baytril pill is 22.7 mg. Even if you cut it into quarters (which is hard to do), the rat is getting more than double its recommended dose! But when we compound it, we crush it into a powder, mix it with a carefully measured amount of compounding syrup, add some flavoring, and the resulting concentration is about 22.7 mg/ml. So you’ll end up giving your rat about 0.1 cc of this compounded solution, which isn’t very much at all! And because we use tasty flavoring, such as peanut butter, the rat thinks she’s getting a special treat! We do the same thing with the doxycycline.

Compounding can be used for all types of animals, including dogs and cats, as well as all of the exotics. The flavoring we use depends on the types of food that the patient finds appealing. We have the following flavors available, and we’re happy to make a suggestion if you aren’t sure which one is best for your pet.

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Grape
  • Bubblegum
  • Orange
  • Liver
  • Peanut Butter
  • Watermelon
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