If you are new to the skunk world, you may not know just how important it is to choose your skunk’s Veterinarian carefully! A Veterinarian who sees mostly dogs and cats may not be comfortable with seeing captive wildlife and just because they agree to see the skunk, doesn’t mean they are experienced to do so. If you haven’t already done so, ask the breeder or the pet store for recommendations for Veterinarians who see skunks. If you know other pet skunk owners, check with them also. If there is a wildlife care center near you, they will know of Veterinarians that see captive wildlife. Once you get a few names, call and ask them any questions you may have. Some important questions to ask are located here.
Ideally, your Veterinarian will be your partner in raising a healthy pet skunk that you will enjoy for many years. It is important to have a Veterinarian that you can turn to when your skunk needs medical attention and for routine procedures like spaying and neutering. You may not be aware that the wrong drug will kill a skunk quickly. All kits come with roundworms which needs to be addressed by a Veterinarian at this age to dose the correct medicine. The wrong de-wormer will also kill a skunk! Read more about de-worming your kit here.
All pets deserve great Veterinarians! This is even more important for pet skunks who are not the best of patients most of the time. For pet skunks who do not travel well, a mobile Veterinarian can be an option if available in your area. You will still need a Veterinarian with either a physical address or clinic privileges for times when surgery or certain diagnostic testing is needed. If your Veterinarian does not have emergency hours, you need to locate one that will see a skunk on an emergency basis. Hopefully, you will never need them, but the time to find one is NOT after you realize the skunk needs emergency care.
Pet skunks are not legal in very many states as wild skunks have been identified as a rabies vector species. While there have been no reported cases of rabies in domestic skunks for many years, there has been at least one report from a kit sold by a pet store. It turned out the store purchased the kit locally from someone who had illegally removed it from the wild. All pet skunks can and will bite. Most kits or juniors go through a biting phase and even the nicest, best socialized skunk may bite if they are in pain or frightened. If you know or suspect your skunk may bite while at the Vet’s office, please let them know NOT to handle the skunk until Isoflurane gas is given to knock the skunk out.
When you did your initial research on skunks, one of the most important questions to ask was what will happen if my skunk bites someone? If the response is that they will report the bite, that is NOT the Veterinarian you are looking for. If a skunk bite is reported, the animal will be seized, euthanized and tested for rabies. The result will be negative and you will be heart broken. You won’t get a second chance to find the Veterinarian with the expertise and trained staff that can safely restrain your pet skunk, if needed, for their safety and the skunk’s safety. The Veterinarian who employs Veterinary technicians experienced with working with wildlife is a much better choice than one who employs someone who is only used to puppies and kittens.