Birds, Reptiles, and Small Mammals


Dr. Darice Henry-Ford has special training to care for your birds, ferrets, mice, rats, Guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, hedgehogs, rabbits, lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles and other exotic pets.


There are many conditions that can be avoided with regular vet checkups, a healthy feeding regimen, and careful setup of housing.


Many common mistakes in feeding and cage setup create serious, life-threatening conditions.  Early intervention is key to enjoying your unique family member with a long, healthy lifespan, and Dr. Henry-Ford can help you provide the best care and service in Helena.


Many lizards suffer metabolic problems due to improper lighting, diet, and housing. They can develop deep tissue infections from injury or cancerous growths. Their ability to respond to infection is slow, and will often contribute to a delay in catching the problem before it becomes irreversible.



Each type of bird is unique and requires specific housing, foods, and safe handling, such as the Red Tailed Hawk being handled by a falconer pictured above.

Dr. Henry-Ford has experience and training for handling these special patients. She understands the their unique needs and has the training necessary to care many types of birds, including birds of prey or other wild birds. Dr. Henry-Ford also cares for domesticated birds such as geese, ducks, parakeets, macaws, budgies and many others.

Observing small changes in appetite, movement, and attitude may help prevent problems from getting out of control. Also, remember to look at feet and toes regularly for signs of problems or injury.

Consult your veterinarian before problems develop. Prevention is better than trying to undo problems created by improper care.



This lizard, a Savannah Monitor, injured her right foot and developed a severe, debilitating infection.  Dr. Henry-Ford removed the infected area and placed her on antibiotics to help her recover and heal this foot.  Early intervention is important to prevent progression of infection.


Even tiny guys like this hamster need special food, bedding, and housing to prevent serious illness.


Ferrets are commonly afflicted with some very serious diseases that can result in hair loss, itchy skin, weakness, weight loss, diarrhea and vomit, and should be seen by a veterinarian right away. Young ferrets commonly ingest foreign bodies, as well. Ferrets should be vaccinated to prevent infectious disease, and Dr. Henry-Ford can help you determine if your ferret should be vaccinated.


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Rabbits make great pets, but require special nutrition. It is common to feed only alfalfa pellets, but this can lead to intestinal and nutritional problems. In addition to other foods, daily access to grass hay can go a long way to keeping their intestinal tract moving well. Nearly all the important diseases seen in rabbits can be attritbuted to improper diet and feeding practices.



This rat is prepped for surgery to neuter him. A special circulating water bed keeps him warm while he is under anesthesia and careful dosing of pain medication allows him to heal after surgery in comfort.