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According to renowned exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Susan Brown, "The more thoroughly educated a person is about the pet he or she owns the higher the quality of life for that pet. In addition, the bond between human and pet is richly enhanced through further understanding." In our Small Mammal Health Series, Dr. Brown shares her expertise on general husbandry, proper diets, and specific common (and not so common) medical disorders in rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, and other small mammals.

 Small Mammal Health Series

Canine Distemper in Ferrets
Canine distemper is a contagious disease caused by a virus. CDV can be transmitted to ferrets directly from infected animals of other species, or through contact with infected material such as shoes or clothing. In other words, you can bring CDV home if you are in contact with infected material in places such as the woods a pet store or a breeding facility. Using a canine distemper vaccine that is not approved for use in ferrets can also transmit CDV.

Safe on the Fourth of July
If there's one holiday that's not popular at U.S. shelters and veterinary emergency hospitals, it's probably the Fourth of July. That's because the fireworks and other celebrations of this midsummer bash trigger pet care tragedies -- a flow of lost pets, sick pets and injured pets.

Know your Risks
When it comes to food, household cleaners and plants, veterinary experts say that pet lovers spend too much time worrying about products that aren't much of a problem and generally don't know about the things that truly are. Check out the biggest concerns -- and most overblown worries -- based on the 150,000 calls a year into the Animal Poison Control Center.

The chinchilla is a rodent which is closely related to the guinea pig and porcupine. In the wild state, they live at high altitudes in rocky, barren mountainous regions. They tend to be fairly clean, odorless, and friendly pets but usually are shy and easily frightened. They do not make very good pets for young children, since they tend to be high-strung and hyperactive (both the child and the pet).

Feline Mysteries
It's not a mystery that caressing a purring cat is a pleasurable experience -- it'll even lower your blood pressure. But what is a mystery, strangely enough, is the mechanics of purring itself. In short: -- or even all the reasons why. The most common explanation of the source is that a purr originates in the voice box, with what are called the "vestibular folds," or false vocal cords.

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VetzInsight: A Different Place to Learn
The same folks who provide Veterinary Partner also offer a blog called VetzInsight. Rather than explain what occurs in a disease process and how to treat it - which was Veterinary Partner offers - our goal is not only to inform on larger issues but to tap into the numerous emotions at play within the human-animal bond. We're here to learn and have fun. If you're interested in learning more about a broader look at veterinary medicine, the veterinarians, the clients, and the patients, VetzInsight is a great learning experience.

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Have animal health questions?

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