Dr. Susan Barrows simultaneously opened AMC and founded the Bozeman non-profit organization known today as the Montana Raptor Conservation Center. Dr. Barrows attributes her keen interest in veterinary medicine and exotics to her upbringing in a household full of orphaned wild animals and stray dogs and cats in Connecticut. She loves the teamwork fostered in a clinical setting and the challenge of diagnosing and treating illnesses in all household pets. In the summer of 2009 AMC became accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and now belongs to a select group of small animal practices (15%) that are committed to meeting the standards of veterinary excellence. Dr. Barrows graduated from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and was hired there as a Laboratory Animal Clinician. She founded the Iowa State Wildlife Care Clinic and taught raptor and wildlife medicine to vet students. Dr. Barrows moved to Bozeman in 1987. Today she lives outside of Bozeman with her husband, their dogs, saltwater fish and numerous horses. Playing guitar, horseback riding and packing, scuba diving, fishing and photography are her favorite pastimes.
As most of you know Dr. K left AMC at the end of
November 2011 to pursue one of his life long passions. He is currently working as an associate
veterinarian at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From time-top-time we’d like to share some of
his archived articles with you.
Exotic Animal Spays and Neuters by
Eric Klaphake, DVM, DABVP (Avian), DACZM
As with dogs and cats, many
exotic pets can be neutered or spayed. Often
this can be for the same purposes of dogs and cats for behavior modification,
reproduction avoidance, and specific disease prevention. Likewise, spays and
neuters are MAJOR surgeries, so anesthetic and surgical complications can occur
(though rare), including death. These procedures and post-operative management
recommendations need to be taken seriously. We recommend a new pet examination
for all exotics, and particularly with rabbits and rodents, this can be helpful
to have a professional definitively determine the sex of your pet by
examination or more advanced techniques to avoid (or promote) successful reproductive
·Ferrets—98% of all ferrets in the pet trade are already
spayed or neutered and de-scented too. The ones from Marshall Farms have two
blue dots tattooed in one ear to indicate this. Other ferrets should be
assessed by your exotic animal veterinarian to determine the likelihood of
having had the procedure done. Vulvar (reproductive area) swelling in females,
less than one year of age, suggests lack of or incomplete spaying and is an
immediate health hazard if she is not bred or brought out of cycle. Older
females with vulvar swelling suggest adrenal gland disease and need a
veterinary visit soon, though it is not an emergency.
·Rabbits—we recommend all females be spayed due to the high
incidence of uterine cancer. Neutering and spaying can also help reduce or
avoid behavioral problems. Some testicular cancers have been seen in older
rabbits by Dr. Klaphake, but generally are rare.
·Rats—we recommend neutering to reduce or avoid behavioral
problems between males and to avoid unwanted babies. Spaying females at a very
early age has been shown to greatly reduce their risk of breast cancer.
·Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas,
Sugar Gliders and other small rodents—we
recommend neutering to reduce, or avoid, behavioral problems between males and
to avoid unwanted babies. We do not recommend routine spaying, as these are not
generally good anesthetic candidates for this longer procedure, since placement
of a tracheal tube is usually not possible.
·Reptiles—the only species we routinely recommend prophylactic
spaying in, is Green Iguanas to prevent egg-binding. Neutering male iguanas has
helped curb aggression in some individuals but may take time to reach full effect
in mature adults; sometimes 1-2 years after surgery. Female turtles are often
reported to have egg binding issues in other parts of the country, and world
wide, but it does not seem to be an issue in Montana.