Pocket Pets

As exotic animals continue to become more common among pet owners, one segment, in particular, is making it easier than ever to have your very own non-traditional pet. Pocket pets are small animals like sugar gliders, hedgehogs, mice or other rodents that are commonly kept as a household pet. While many are perceived as both cuddly and small, they still have veterinary needs and husbandry requirements that must be met to help them live a happy and healthy life.

Most pocket pets are purchased through a breeder or pet store, but they may also be adopted from specialized rescue facilities. As loveable companions, these animals vary greatly in size, behavior, environmental needs, and life expectancy. At Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital, we strive to provide the best vet care possible for animals of all sizes and have made it our mission to serve the needs of the growing pocket pet population in Sapulpa and the Tulsa metropolitan area.

Two Bearded dragons on male hand

Some of the pocket pets that we are capable of treating include:

  • Bearded Dragons
  • Other Small Lizards
Young woman with cute rat

Whether you are interested in getting a new pocket pet or want to ensure your pocket pet is getting the preventative care it needs to live its best life, it is important to ensure they are having yearly examinations, being treated whenever they may be sick and getting common preventative care like nail trimmings. While many pocket pets are considered low maintenance compared to other animals like dogs or cats, you must remain steadfast in ensuring they are cared for properly like you would any other animal as a responsible pet owner.

Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital can provide services for a wide range of pocket pets; however, not all animals may be eligible for our services. Before bringing your pet to our facilities, it is recommended that you call to ensure it is a pocket pet that we can accommodate their needs. While the list above covers a range of common pocket pets, it is not the extent of the animals that our veterinary staff is trained to treat with effective and compassionate services.

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What Common Health Issues Do Pocket Pets Have?

Small animals are often exceptionally good at hiding signs of illness or pain because it makes them an easy target for predators in the wild. For this reason, it can often be difficult to determine if your pocket pet is experiencing a health issue. Subtle changes in eating habits or behavior may signify that a deeper problem is occurring that is impacting the health of your pet. By bringing your pet in for a twice yearly examinations examination, you can rest easy knowing that illness or injury can be detected before the problem gets worse.

Many pocket pets have common maintenance needs like nail trimmings or teeth trimmings. Other serious complications like tumors, parasites and unique skin conditions are also a concern based on the species of pocket pet you have. If any alarming issues arise that are not or normal for your pocket pet, consult a licensed veterinary professional to rule out any potential health issues that may be affecting them.

Cute little boy with two chinchillas

Why is a Specialized Veterinarian Needed for Pocket Pets?

Rat in a pocket

For the safety of your pet and your own peace of mind, it is important to take the time to find the right vet to meet the care needs of your pocket pet. While many of these animals are considered low maintenance, it is important to ensure you know where to turn in the event your pocket pet needs veterinary care. Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital has the experience and expertise to not only provide preventative care for your pocket pet but also illness and diagnostic care should the need ever arise.

What Services are Available for Pocket Pets?

While pocket pets can receive many of the same traditional services that other animals are subject to, they may also need specialized services for the best experience possible. As a leading provider of veterinary services in the Tulsa area, Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is here to ensure you have access to the resources and assistance you need to make the most of your companionship with a pocket pet. Some of the services we provide for pocket pets include:

  • Preventative Examinations

    Maintaining the health of a pocket pet requires regularly scheduled veterinary care. Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is committed to identifying and preventing illness in all animals to allow them to live a happy and healthy life. During a preventative examination, your veterinarian can also provide nutrition advice or information regarding husbandry.

  • Post-Purchase Examinations

    If you have just purchased a new pocket pet from a breeder or pet store, it may be a good idea to schedule a post-purchase examination. Many pocket pets can become stressed when entering a new environment and this will often allow illness to occur. One added benefit of a post-purchase examination is the ability to gain new insight into the unique needs of your new companion.

  • Husbandry and Nutritional Consulting

    Proper husbandry and nutrition for an exotic pet can seem like a challenge; however, the small size of pocket pets makes early implementation critical. Schedule a husbandry and nutritional consultation with Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital to help your pet avoid many common illnesses that accompany inadequate nutrition or husbandry.

  • Parasite and Infectious Disease Screening

    Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital has the technology and experience needed to accurately detect parasites or infectious diseases that pocket pets may be facing. Any changes in behavior, eating habits or energy levels could signify a more serious problem is occurring. If observed in your pocket pet, early detection is critical for the best outcome.

  • Vaccinations

    Like traditional pets, many pocket pets require vaccinations to protect them from and prevent a variety of diseases. Since vaccinations vary depending on the species of animal, an examination may be required to provide the best care possible. Once the pet is examined, Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital can explain the suggested vaccine protocols and administer them.

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When Should You Reach Out to a Pocket Pet Vet?

Although it can be hard to determine if your pocket pet is in distress, a few common signals may let you know if they need veterinary support immediately. Below you will find some common symptoms that your pet may be suffering from a medical issue or may be in distress. As previously stated, many pocket pets are capable of hiding pain or other problems. If you observe any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine what the issue is and gain treatment for it.

  • Hair Loss
  • Appetite Changes
  • Increased or Decreased Water Consumption
  • Development of a Lump or Growth
  • Excessive Sleeping
  • New Aggressive Behaviors
  • Urine or Feces Changes

When Should You Reach Out to a Pocket Pet Vet?

Although not an extensive list of possible signs that your pocket pet may need assistance, it is important that pet owners who adopt non-traditional pets remain vigilant in monitoring them for potential changes. This is important not only because they are such small animals but because of the unique needs many species may have in comparison to traditional pets like dogs or cats. Maintaining the proper habitat with the optimal stimulation and ecological requirements can help your pocket pet remain at optimal health and no emergency services are needed regularly.

Sugar Glider on white background

If you are interested in getting a pocket pet for yourself, do not let this information scare you away from doing so. Pocket pets can be enjoyable and loving companions for owners that are willing to tend to their unique needs and want something non-traditional. If you need veterinary care to either prevent problems from occurring or need emergency services due to an injury or unforeseen issue, the team at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is here to help. Let us help make your experience with pocket pets as seamless and easy as possible with preventative care whenever it may be needed. Contact us today to book your appointment with a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our staff!

Why Choose Advanced Care for Pocket Pet Veterinary Services? 

Advanced Care is more than just a primary care hospital. Our patients and clients are special to us and are the reason why we always treat everyone who comes to visit as another member of our family each and every time they walk in our doors. We do not treat every patient the same because we understand that each one requires individualized care and attention.  

Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital Hallway

Meet Our Doctors

Jennifer Patton


Dr. Patton’s decision to pursue veterinary medicine came after she realized that while education and teaching is her passion, it is not something she could do as a career. Veterinary medicine allowed her to combine her love of animals with her love of teaching.

After she graduated from Oklahoma State University with her Doctorate, she practiced in several high volume hospitals in the Tulsa area, developing medical skills with varied case loads and growing her leadership skills.


Allissa Huckabay


Dr. Huckabay’s love of science and animals naturally led her to a lifelong passion of veterinary medicine. She worked and volunteered at a local veterinary hospital before she furthered her education at Oklahoma State University, graduating in 2016 with her Doctorate.

Dr Huckabay immediately found her home at ACVH, where she is able to create a healthy bond with each of her patients as she experiences all stages of their care with their owners.


Phillip Adolph

Phillip Adolph, DVM is a graduate of Oklahoma State University Veterinary Health Sciences. He also attended OSU for his undergraduate studies where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Agriculture through the College of Animal Sciences. Dr. Adolph was on the President’s Honor Roll and was a member of the OSU jazz orchestra. He joined the Advanced Care team immediately upon his graduation in 2019 after doing 6 weeks of externships during his 4th year of veterinary school.