Jerry Murray, exotic small animal vet  Jerry Murray, DVM - Notes From An Exotic Small Animal Vet

Dr. Jerry Murray is an exotic small animal veterinarian in Dallas. He has written many articles on ferret medicine and surgery, and has talked at many national and international meetings about pets. Murray also works with rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, wildlife and even an African rock hyrax.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 
A Hedgehog, A Rabbit And Some Exciting Ferret News

A young hedgehog came into the clinic with a skin and quill problem. He was losing quills and was itchy. He was the only hedgehog in the house, and he was active and playful. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 
Yoga For Sugar Gliders And A Guinea Pig's Eye Trouble

Last week a 10-year-old sugar glider came in with an odd presentation. He had his right leg twisted up and across his lower back. At 10 years old, he is considered a geriatric glider. He was kept with a small group of older gliders. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 
Ferret With A Low Blood-Sugar Problem

I had a ferret case that was quite challenging to treat. The ferret was brought in because she was having seizure activity. Ferrets can have seizures from several different diseases, but the most common cause is from low blood-sugar due to an insulinoma. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 
The Wild Squirrel And Flea Products For Exotic Pets

A wild juvenile squirrel was brought to the clinic near the end of May 2012. The city’s animal control officer had found the youngster in a city park. The squirrel was having a difficult time walking because of a severe head tilt. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 31, 2012 
A Really Rare Ferret Gallbladder Case

Just when I think I have seen it all, something new always comes along. This was definitely the case with a recent ferret patient. An older ferret came in with a vague history of not feeling well and not eating well. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 
It's Nice To Help Mother Nature's Raccoons And Opossums

Sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help, as was the case with two recent wildlife cases I treated. Both cases involved spring babies needing some help from two-legged moms. The first case was a baby raccoon that was found. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 
A Ferret's Trick Knee

Last month an older ferret that was having problems with his rear legs came in to the veterinary clinic. In older ferrets weakness in the rear legs is common, and it can be caused by many different things. The two most common diseases that cause rear-leg weakness are insulinoma and lymphoma. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 
A Hamster, A Prolapse And Wet Tail

A small, Golden hamster (Syrian) came in for an exam because the owner noticed something was wrong with his rear end. The hamster was still active, but he had a rather long section of his rectum that had prolapsed out the abdominal cavity. That’s right; roughly 2½ inches of the hamster’s rectum and bowel were hanging outside of his body. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 
A Rat That's Long In The Tooth

A young owner brought in her pet rat recently. The little rodent had some really long incisor teeth. Long incisor teeth are quite common in rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs, but they are uncommon in rats, hamsters and other ratlike pets. View Blog>>

Wednesday, march 21, 2012 
That's A Big One For A Ferret

A new ferret owner brought their young, 1-year-old, male ferret in three weeks ago due to a large tumor right behind his shoulder. The mass was hard, firm, and did not move when touched. The ferret was still active, eating and fairly normal except for the large tumor. View Blog>>

Wednesday, march 7, 2012 
The Case Of Green Diarrhea In A Ferret

Just last week a ferret owner brought a recently adopted ferret into the clinic. He was a young ferret with an estimated age of 1 year. The new owner had him for just a few days when he started having a green, mucoid and malodorous diarrhea. His appetite had also decreased, and he was losing weight rapidly. View Blog>>

Wednesday, february 22, 2012 
A Ferret And A Rabbit, Two Skinny Patients

One of my better ferret owners was involved with rescuing a neglected ferret. The previous owners had contacted her to “just come and get them.” Before the two ferrets could be rescued, the female ferret passed away. The male ferret was still alive but just barely. He was down to just 1 pound in body weight. View Blog>>

Wednesday, february 8, 2012 
A Porcupine Star Is Born

It is uncommon for a veterinarian to have a patient become a celebrity, but that is exactly what happened recently. One of my clients has a porcupine that is used for educational purposes. Teddy Bear is his name, and he was found as an infant in a barn out in West Texas. View Blog>>

Wednesday, january 25, 2012 
Has This Ferret Brought A Fungus Among Us?

A good client brought her ferret in for an exam. He was a rescued ferret with an unknown background and history. He had been acting a little differently recently and was not eating as well as normal. These clinical signs are nonspecific and can be caused by many disease processes, so a physical exam was performed. View Blog>>

Wednesday, january 11, 2012 
The African Pygmy Hedgehog Case

There are two commonly seen hedgehog species: the African and the European hedgehog. Pet hedgehogs are the African species and are commonly called African pygmy hedgehogs. In 1991, it became illegal to import hedgehogs from Africa due to fear of importing a cattle disease (foot and mouth disease) into the United States. View Blog>>

Wednesday, december 28, 2011 
What's Bugging This Rat?

Recently an older female pet rat came in my clinic for an exam. The rat was not as active as normal and had lost some weight. On physical exam the rat was indeed thin for her size and had lost a lot of the muscle mass on her rear legs and back. There were also some crusty lesions on her skin. View Blog>>

Wednesday, december 14, 2011 
Reindeer Challenges

With the upcoming Christmas Eve flight of some very special reindeer out of the North Pole, I thought I would write about some general reindeer information and medicine. Reindeer are the domesticated version of caribou. Fortunately neither reindeer nor caribou are endangered. There are roughly 2 million reindeer and 3 million wild caribou in the world. View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 
Little Stinkers Known As Skunks

Recently, I had an unexpected death of a client. She was longtime ferret owner who everybody liked. She always had a smile and positive attitude, even when one of her pets had a bad disease. She was also involved in rehabbing wild skunks. In tribute to her, here is a column on skunks. View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 
The Doctor Becomes The Patient

For more than a year now I have been in pain when I use my left arm. Everyday things like giving an injection, doing surgery or picking up an animal made my left shoulder hurt. Finally, the pain started waking me up during the night. That is when I had to see a human orthopedic doctor to determine what I injured and what was needed to fix this annoying problem. It was also an interesting opportunity to see how those other doctors work up an orthopedic case. View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 
The Balding Prairie Dog

I had a recent case involving a pet prairie dog. The prairie dog was an 8-year-old, intact female that had lost a lot of her fur. Prairie dogs in the wild typically shed twice a year. In the spring they shed and put on their summer coat, and in the fall they shed again and put on their winter coat and extra weight for the winter. The appearance of the fur loss did not look like a normal shed cycle. View Blog>>

Wednesday, october 19, 2011 
Saving Raccoons And Squirrels In Fall Baby Season

Usually during the spring and early summer it is baby season for cats, ferrets, prairie dogs and the local wildlife in Texas. Typically, several baby squirrels are brought into the clinic for medical care followed by raising them, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild. Most baby squirrels survive their initial injuries, bottle feeding and hand-raising. It’s a time-consuming but rewarding job to watch these little rodents grow up. View Blog>>

Wednesday, october 5, 2011 
Guinea Pig With Head Tilt And Mites

A recent case of mine involved a middle-aged, male guinea pig. He had a severe head tilt to his left side. He was unable to hold his head in a normal position. He was even to the point of falling over and rolling over. This guinea pig had been unable to eat for the past several days. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 
Fall Adrenal Season For Ferrets

Adrenal gland disease has become the most common problem in pet ferrets. Adrenal gland disease in ferrets is very different than the adrenal disease that people and dogs develop. In ferrets, the adrenal glands overproduce the sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and the androgens (andro and DHEA). View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 
Getting Rabbits "Fixed"

At the recent Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians conference, more than eight different presentations were about rabbits. Some of the topics covered new treatment options for a few of the common rabbit problems, such as surgery for chronic rhinitis (snuffles), medications for Encephalitozoon cuniculi induced glaucoma and torticollis (wry neck), and antibiotics and therapies for cases of pneumonia. View Blog>>

Wednesday, august 24, 2011 
Learning About Exotic Small Animal Pets In The Cool Pacific Northwest

At the beginning of August I was able to attend the yearly conference of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) up in Seattle. The weather was absolutely amazing. The high temperature for most of the days was only in the low 70s. For the veterinarians from Texas and Oklahoma, this was a much-needed escape from this summer’s extreme heat wave. Of course the continuing education was great, too. View Blog>>

Wednesday, august 10, 2011 
The Heat Is On For Small Animal Pets

The summer heat is definitely a major problem for a lot of small animal pets. Guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, ferrets and more are all at risk for serious heat-related problems during the summer. This can range from mild heat stress to fatal heatstroke. For your pet’s health, you must know the signs of heat problems, how to treat heat-related problems and, more importantly, how to avoid heat-related problems. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 
The Eyes Have It For Small Animal Pets

Exotic pets are prone to some of the same diseases that cats and dogs suffer from. Sometimes exotic pets can have eye problems that are very similar to what cats and dogs develop. It can be a little bit harder to diagnose an eye problem in small mammals and reptiles due to the fact that their eyes are smaller, and it can be difficult to get them to hold still long enough to get a good look at their eyes. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 
Canine Distemper In Ferrets

Canine distemper is a serious and frequently fatal infection of dogs and other members of the canine family, such as wolves, foxes and coyotes. It is caused by a virus. It can also infect pet ferrets, skunks, mink, badgers, black-footed ferrets and other members of the weasel family. Raccoons and kinkajous are also highly susceptible to this disease. Canine distemper is an almost always fatal disease of pet ferrets. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 
Ferret Dental Problems

I recently wrote a column on the dental problems of pet rabbits. Now this column focuses on the dental problems that are commonly seen in pet ferrets. Back in May and just this past week, two different ferrets had obvious dental problems, and one of the ferrets actually needed an extraction of one of the problematic teeth. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 
The International Ferret Congress Ferret Symposium

During the first weekend in June 2011, the International Ferret Congress (IFC) held its almost-yearly symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a great meeting where veterinarians, ferret shelter operators, and ferret owners gather to learn more about ferrets. Among other speakers, the symposium included some of the very best ferret veterinarians in the country. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 
Problems With Rabbit Teeth

Rabbits, rodents, and ferrets are all prone to dental problems. Rabbits and rodents are prone to overgrowth of the incisors and “spurs” on the cheek teeth, but ferrets are prone to tartar buildup, gingivitis and tooth loss as they grow older. These are two very different problems that require two different approaches for treatment. View Blog>>

Wednesday, may 18, 2011 
A Guinea Pig With Love Bites And A Hedgehog Suffering Quill Loss

One of the neat things about working with small mammals is that you never know what you are going to see next. Two recent cases involved a guinea pig with an unusual lump and a hedgehog with a common skin problem. View Blog>>

Wednesday, may 4, 2011 
Ear Problems In A Mouse And A Short-Tailed Opossum

Ear infections are very common in dogs and cats, but exotic pets seem to have exotic ear problems. The first case was a mouse with a large mass by its ear. By just looking at it, I initially thought it was a tumor. Surgery was scheduled to remove the mass from the mouse. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 
A Tale Of Two Ferret Tails

Everyone complains about taxes being a pain in the tail, but these two cases are about ferrets that truly had a real problem with their tails. Ferrets are prone to an odd and rare tumor called a chordoma. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 
Two Giant Ferret Paws

The director of the local ferret shelter contacted me to ask about taking off a big tumor on a ferret’s rear paw. She was concerned that the tumor was so big that the rear leg may have to be amputated in order to remove the entire tumor. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 
Sweet But Toxic Xylitol

I had a sad case recently. A young pet ferret had eaten some Tic Tacs. One might think Tic Tacs would only cause an upset stomach, but it can actually be fatal to ferrets. Unfortunately some sugar-free products contain xylitol. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 
The Guinea Pig With Big Lymph Nodes And A Ferret With An Odd Tumor

Last month I had a guinea pig come in for an exam. The owner had noticed the pet was not eating well and was losing weight. His activity level was less than normal. On physical exam, it was obvious that the guinea pig was too thin. Plus, he had several very big lymph nodes. View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 
The What-The-Heck-Is-That Ferret Case

At the beginning of the month, a ferret with adrenal gland disease came in for surgery. This big male had a firm mass in the left side of his abdomen. The location made me suspect it was his left adrenal gland that had enlarged to the size of a handball. View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 
Tick Treatment For Slow Moe, The Sloth

What do you treat a 2-toed sloth with to get rid of ticks? It was a question that caught me by total surprise. I must have fallen asleep during the parasitology lecture that covered how to treat 2-toed sloths for ticks. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 
Two Unique Ferret Cases

It is never a dull day when you work with pet ferrets. It seems like no matter how many ferrets you see, there is always something new or a new challenge to overcome. I recently had two such ferret cases. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 
Raccoons: The Masked Bandit

Way back when I was a young child, I read a book called Rascal by Sterling North. It is a fascinating story of a young boy growing up with his pet raccoon. This bestseller was eventually made into a major Walt Disney movie. The same author wrote a follow-up bestseller called Raccoons Are The Brightest People. View Blog>>

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 
The Hedgehog With A Tumor And The Mouse With A Skin Problem

Hedgehogs are noiseless, odorless, solitary animals. They are nocturnal by nature and live on a diet of insects, earthworms, slugs, snails and grubs. This insect-based diet is high in protein, high in fiber and low in fat. They are small in size and have a spiny coat. View Blog>>

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 
The Lucky Rabbit

Here is the good news rabbit case that I promised last time. At the beginning of the month a chocolate-colored rabbit came in to the clinic. This bunny had the vague signs of not being as active as normal and acting like he was in pain when he was picked up. View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 
The Prairie Dog And The Young Ferret

I had two sad cases last week. The first was a geriatric prairie dog. She was roughly 10 years old. Normally prairie dogs only live for three to four years in the wild, but in captivity they can live for seven to 10 years. View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 
A Veterinarian's Fall Vacation

Fall has finally made its way down to the South. The cooler temperatures are always welcome after a long hot summer. Fall also means the veterinary clinic slows down a little, and I get to go on a vacation. View Blog>>

Wednesday, october 6, 2010 
Ferret Skin Tumors And A White Sugar Glider

Skin tumors are fairly common in pet ferrets. Recently I treated three ferrets with the two most common skin tumors, and one ferret with an unusual lump under its skin. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 
It's A Rat And A Ferret Tumor

This past week I had another rat mammary tumor case. Rats are prone to mammary tumors, and these can form in just about any location on the body. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 
Guinea Pigs In Brief

Guinea pigs are from South America, and wild guinea pigs still live in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Peru. They were domesticated in South America between 500 and 1000 A.D. Guinea pigs are also called cavies. They are friendly, sedentary, live longer than most rodents and make great pets! View Blog>>

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 
Silly Rabbit, Don’t Eat The Rat Bait; And A Ferret’s Red Third Eyelids 

It is common for dogs and cats to ingest toxic products such as insecticides, household cleaners, garden products, human or veterinary medications, and rodenticides. Small mammals can also ingest the same toxic stuff and poison themselves. Recently, I had a rabbit eat all of a rat bait (rat poison). View Blog>>

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 
Exotic Animal Medicine Conference! 

Once a year there is an exotic animal medicine conference, and I just returned from this year’s conference. These conferences are a great chance to relax and learn. Plus, they are usually in visitor-friendly cities. This year’s conference was in beautiful San Diego, and the weather was absolutely amazing! View Blog>>

Wednesday, july 28, 2010 
An Armadillo And A Degu Visit The Clinic 

Recently an owner brought in a 3-banded armadillo. This is not our native 9-banded North American armadillo. The 3-banded armadillo is from South America. In the wild, it eats mostly ants, termites and other insects. View Blog>>

Wednesday, july 14, 2010 
Three Ferret Cases Involving Chordoma, Lymphoma And Adrenal Gland Disease 

Summer is here, and parts of the country are experiencing the heat of the summer. Oddly enough, July has been mild down here in Dallas. Anyway I’ll cover three recent ferret cases in this column. View Blog>>

Wednesday, june 30, 2010 
Goodbye To Faith The Fennec Fox 

Clients occasionally ask me, “What is the most endangered animal you have worked on.” I smile and explain that I have worked on a snow leopard, a red wolf and almost 200 black-footed ferrets. Clients also ask, “What is the most unusual pet you have worked on.” I reply with a long list that includes a bobcat, porcupine, kinkajou, genet, raccoons, cougar, and a fennec fox. View Blog>>

Wednesday, june 16, 2010 
Sugar Gliders Come From The Land Down Under 

Australia is known for a lot beautiful places and wonderful people. Classic Australian icons include the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the Blue Mountains, Ayers Rock, and the Rod Laver arena where the Australian Open tennis tournament is played. Australia is also known for a wide variety of unusual animals called marsupials . View Blog>>

Wednesday, june 2, 2010 
Rat Mammary Tumors 

Rats in general are prone to three common problems: mammary (breast) tumors, respiratory disease and heart disease. It has been estimated that more than half of the intact female rats will develop mammary tumors during their lifetime. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 
A Tale Of Two Prairie Dogs 

Pet prairie dog sales were banned by the Centers for Disease Control in 2003 because of an outbreak of monkeypox, but they are making a comeback as a small mammal pet in some areas because the ban by the CDC was lifted in 2008. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 
Adrenal Season For Ferrets 

In the last column I talked about the spring breeding season. Spring is also the time of the year when a lot of ferret owners first notice the signs of adrenal gland disease in their pet. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 
Springtime At The Veterinary Clinic 

Earlier in the month the Easter Bunny came to the veterinary clinic, and now I am hoping a Playboy Bunny will come to the clinic soon. Meanwhile, spring has definitely arrived. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 
The Easter Bunny Comes To The Clinic 

This is my first blog entry. With the Easter holiday comes a lot of new pet bunnies, so I will start with some of the need-to-know information about pet rabbits and end with a recent rabbit case. View Blog>>

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