October 23, 2018

Dr. Thomas Donnelly Receives the 2018 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award

Dr. Thomas Donnelly Receives the 2018 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award

Oxbow Animal Health has announced Dr. Thomas Donnelly as the winner of the 2018 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award. Established in 2009, the Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award is presented annually to an animal health professional who advances the field of exotic mammal medicine and care. Dr. Donnelly, who serves as Research Professor & Co-Director of the European College of Zoological Medicine training program at the Alfort National Veterinary School in Paris, France, was presented with the award at ExoticsCon 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia at a reception in his honor.

“It is such a great honor to recognize Dr. Thomas Donnelly with the 2018 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award,” said John Miller, President and Founder of Oxbow Animal Health. “Dr. Donnelly is a pioneer in Exotic Mammal Medicine who played a critical role in bringing evidence-based medicine to the field. Known throughout the industry for always putting colleagues and students before self, Dr. Donnelly is the true picture of what the Quest Award represents.”

“I am so pleased to receive the Oxbow Award because it is a recognition from my peers that something I enjoy doing is considered valuable to our profession, our specialty and to the animals we treat,” said Dr. Donnelly. “I have always been happy to share my knowledge, and keep sharing it, because when we share knowledge, it’s not divided and diminished, but rather it is multiplied and increases. I get to keep all of the knowledge I share, and the person receiving gets to keep it all too. Whatever achievement I may have attained I owe in considerable measure to my enthusiastic colleagues, residents, interns and students over the years who keep challenging me with the most interesting questions that I would never have considered.”

Dr. Thomas Donnelly has served as Research Professor at the Alfort National Veterinary School in Paris, France since 2013. Dr. Donnelly was heavily involved in the creation of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Exotic Companion Mammals), where he served as chair of the examination comittee 2008-2010 and presently serves as a member. After being recognized de facto Diplomate for the European College of Zoological Medicine (Small Mammal), Dr. Donnelly joined the Education Committee in 2016 to develop policies and procedures. He has written and contributed to many books, articles, and journals, was on the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians edtorial review board 2012-2017 for the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, and has contributed countless hours to editing others’ work for publication.

The Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award is based on excellence in one or more of the following areas: exhibiting leadership in the field of exotic mammal health, advancing the understanding of clinical diseases and treatments in exotic mammal pets, promoting the field of exotic mammal medicine, promoting the field of exotic mammal nutrition or providing innovation to the field of exotic mammal medicine. Nominations are made by submitting a CV and letter of recommendation describing the individual and how they exemplify the above qualities. For more information, visit www.oxbowvetconnect.com.

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October 08, 2018

How to Pick the Perfect Hay

How to Pick the Perfect Hay

Which hay variety should I buy for my pet? 

Looking for the perfect hay variety to meet your pet's taste and texture preferences?  Wanting to find several fun varieties to mix for enrichment?  Use our informative variety chart to help pick the perfect hay today? 

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October 05, 2018

All About Hay and Your Pet’s Health

All About Hay and Your Pet’s Health


As the pet parent of a small herbivore, you know that hay is important to your pet’s health, but have you ever wondered exactly how hay helps keep your pet healthy & happy?  Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific functions that hay provides to your pet’s daily health.

Digestive Health

  • The fiber in hay facilitates the constant digestive movement that small herbivores need to maintain digestive health.
  • Disrupting movement in the GI tract even for a short period of time can lead to a number of potentially lifethreatening issues.
  • Providing grass hay most closely mimics the foraging activity small herbivores would perform in nature, making hay the ideal material to support digestive health.

Dental Health 

  • Small herbivores require constant chewing of fibrous foods to provide proper, necessary dental wear. Hay is the ideal material to serve this important function.
  • The teeth of rabbits, guinea pigs, & chinchillas never stop growing, making it critical to provide a proper diet centered around hay.
  • A diet with insufficient hay can lead to dental issues including disease, tooth elongation, & malocclusion.

Mental Health 

  • Hay encourages the natural foraging behaviors of small pets, providing an essential opportunity for mental stimulation.
  • Access to a variety of high-quality hays provides different tastes & textures for your pet, keeping him active, engaged & healthy.
  • Place hay in as many locations as possible throughout your pet’s living space to maximize mental enrichment.

Tips for Preventing GI Stasis 

Gastrointestinal Stasis is a serious condition that occurs when the digestive system slows down or stops completely. As a pet parent, there are key steps you can take to minimize the likelihood that your pet experiences this condition:

  • Feed a high fiber diet centered around unlimited grass hay (at least 70% of the diet)
  • Schedule regular veterinary checkups for your pet (at least once a year for healthy pets)
  • Keep a watchful eye out for signs of underlying issues (e.g. visible pain, dental health issues, infections, etc.)
  • Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise & has access to two sources of fresh water 

Feeding a variety of hays offers many benefits to pets.  Learn more about the Top 5 Reasons to offer your pet a variety.  

Hay: It's Not Just for Herbivores

Hay is critical to the health & wellbeing of herbivores, but other pets benefit from this high fiber forage as well. Hay is a great source of physical enrichment for birds, hamsters, gerbils, rats, &
other small pets. From bedding to burrowing to general exploring, these pets will benefit from access to hay in their daily routine. Hamsters & gerbils particularly enjoy oat hay, which often contains tasty, immature seed heads.

DIY Mental Enrichment

To make mealtime more mentally enriching for your pet, try stuffing hay into hideouts or other “safe to chew” containers, such as toilet paper or paper towel rolls. For added enticement, bury a few of your pet’s favorite treats toward the back of the hay & watch him eagerly hunt for them.

What Are "Open-Rooted" Teeth?

Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, & other small animals have “open-rooted” teeth. This means that these teeth grow continuously throughout the animal’s life. Without proper dental wear, serious issues can arise, including
malocclusion (improper alignment of top & bottom teeth), tooth elongation, & dental disease. Eating hay regularly provides your pet the necessary wear & helps ensure that teeth do not become overgrown.

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