Avian & Exotics

Avian and Exotics Veterinarian at AEMC:

Ann Murata, DVM


Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 9am-1pm
Please call 310-325-3000 to schedule appointments outside Dr. Murata’s regular hours.

Birds, small exotic mammals (rabbits, rodents, ferrets, sugar gliders, and hedgehogs), amphibians, and reptiles are unique in their diets, habitats, living requirements, and resistance to showing signs of illness and pain until they are gravely ill. Since many of these animals are prey species, showing any signs of weakness may make them more susceptible to predators.

For this reason, even very subtle changes in the pet’s behavior, appetite, or appearance usually indicates a serious illness that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Due to the ‘unique metabolism’ of the majority of these animals, it is often necessary to quickly and effectively provide nutritional support, heat, and oxygen, in addition to diagnostic testing and treatments to be able to stabilize the patient.

Animal Emergency Medical Center employs several chambers that regulate temperature and oxygen levels, as well as a larger chamber that also regulates humidity and is adequate to comfortably hospitalize a five-foot green iguana.

All AEMC staff has the additional specialized training to give these distinctive pets the proper medical attention and care. AEMC is one of the few emergency and critical care veterinary facilities that offer 24-hour veterinary services to avian and exotic patients.

Dr. Ann Murata works exclusively in avian and exotic medicine at AEMC and is available by appointment on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Additionally, she regularly consults with our staff veterinarians concerning hospitalized exotic patients.

As a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, and Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, Dr. Murata is involved with the latest medical and surgical information through ongoing continuing education.


Health Problems and Illnesses Common to Parrots. Psittacosis or Parrot Fever is an infectious disease that is also contagious to humans. Affected birds show a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Weepy or runny eyes
  • Sneezing, and congestion

Respiratory infections can prevent breathing.


A bacterial disease called chlamydia psittaci is spread between birds and can be contagious to humans. It causes respiratory medical problems.

  • Viruses, such as beak and feather virus
  • Avian polyomavirus
  • Avian influenza, which causes medical problems like:
    • abnormal feathers
    • diarrhea and pneumonia


A healthy Canary should NOT:

  • Be puffed up and sitting motionless
  • Have watery or sore eyes; eyes may also be red and inflamed
  • Should not sneeze or shiver
  • Have watery discharge from the beak
  • Should not have droppings that are white and watery
  • Be “light” with little or no body weight
  • Have droppings/ feces around vent

Red Ear Slider

Captive turtles, like all pets, must receive routine veterinary checkups.

  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Intestinal parasites such as roundworm are relatively common in red-eared sliders, and in pet turtles in general
  • Shell Rot
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Other Typical Health Ailments
  • Health Problem Clues


Even the best-kept rat can become ill. These are a few common rat illnesses.

  • Rat respiratory problems
  • Rat skin problems
  • Rat growths:
    • Benign growths
    • Abscesses
    • Tumors
    • Stroke in Rats


Below are some of the more common health problems that affect chinchillas.

  • Bloat – Bloat is caused by an excessive gas build up in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Broken Bones
  • Choke
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear Infection