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Because of our special interest in avian and exotic pet medicine, all of our veterinarians have advanced training in avian medicine and surgery. In fact, since 1987, a veterinarian from Littleton Animal Hospital has attended the annual Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) continuing education conference every year. We regularly participate in avian and exotic rounds and give presentations on our cases at meetings.

The following are some examples of the services and equipment we use to provide for the needs of our bird patients:

  • gray birdPrevention and wellness exams*
  • Nutrition counseling, diets, and supportive care
  • Temperature and humidity controlled incubators for our hospitalized patients
  • Nebulizers for medicating our bird patients with respiratory problems
  • An anesthesia machine especially for small patients complete with a ventilator
  • Radiology services: We have high-detail digital x-ray equipment for small patients and, if needed, can perform barium contrast series to outline specific parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Small-gauge needles, intravenous (IV) catheters, and air sac intubation tubes
  • Surgical services: We perform soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries and have certain equipment to make this as safe as possible. We use an Ellman radiosurgery unit for minimal bleeding, magnification lenses for optimal precision, micro-surgery instruments for accuracy, and clear surgical drapes for proper monitoring of patient's respiratory status.
  • Endoscopy services for surgical sexing and minimally invasive surgical procedures or biopsies
  • Specific laboratory examinations for sexing as well as diagnosis of avian diseases using blood, droppings, cloacal and choanal swabs, and feathers
  • Behavioral counseling for such problems as aggression and feather-picking
  • Lupron injections for chronic egg-laying patients
  • Necropsy services for deceased birds
  • In-house compounded medications as well as an available compounding pharmacy for precise dosing and tasty flavors to make medicating easier for both the owner and the pet
  • **Wing, nail, and beak trims for birds that have had an exam within the past year
  • Leg band removal

We recommend that birds be fasted prior to their appointments. This will make the examination easier for the vet. It will also be safer for the bird since stressed birds can regurgitate food and then inhale it, leading to pneumonia. Please pull your bird's food 3-4 hours before putting them in the car.

**We will not perform wing, nail, or beak trims on any birds unless they have had an examination by a veterinarian at Littleton Animal Hospital within the past year. We require an examination for the safety of your pet. Some birds may have underlying health problems that may go unnoticed (heart disease, respiratory disease, underlying bacterial infections, etc.). Grooming procedures may be stressful for some avian patients. If your bird has a health problem you are not aware of, these grooming procedures may place your pet at an increased risk for complications.

Click the links below to read about some of our most unusual veterinary cases.

Baby Cockatiel with Scissors Beak

Budgie with Crop Stones

Rooster with Frostbite


This baby cockatiel (shown in Figure 1) has an upper and lower beak that are not properly aligned. This condition is commonly known as "scissors beak." The cause is speculated, but not known. Looking at the left side of the photo in Figure 1, you can see how the upper beak is displaced towards the bird's right side.

In order to correct this deformity, we placed a wire implant through the bird's frontal bone while it was under anesthesia (see Figure 2). There is a hook at one end of the wire to which a rubber band is attached. The other end of the rubber band is placed around the upper beak in order to place tension on it and pull it into the correct position. While the implant was in place, the cockatiel was given pain medication and oral antibiotics to prevent infection.

The implant was left in place for 2 weeks, then removed. Figure 3 shows the baby cockatiel after implant removal. There is still some minor swelling at the surgery site, but the beak is now properly aligned.

Now the baby cockatiel is nearly full-grown, happy, and healthy! (Figure 4)

Cockatiel with Scissors Beak
Cockatiel with Wire Implant
  Baby Cockatiel after Implant Removal   Baby Cockatiel Recovered from Scissors Beak
  Budgie with Crop Stones

Shown in Figure 1 is a 9 year old budgie who came in for its annual examination. The budgie had no health issues according to the owner and was acting normally at home. Everything also appeared normal on his physical exam except for two hard masses that were felt within the bird’s crop.

X-ray of Budgie with Crop Stones   

We decided to take radiographs (x-rays) of the budgie (see Figure 2) to try to determine what these masses were. The bird was anesthetized briefly with gas anesthesia to keep him still and properly positioned while we took the x-rays. While using anesthesia does have some risks, the risks are usually very low in an otherwise healthy bird. The procedure is also much less stressful to the bird when performed while it is under anesthesia compared to being awake. In the x-ray shown in Figure 2, you can see two round mineral densities in the crop.

   Ingluvioliths or Crop Stones found in Budgie

After reviewing the budgie’s x-rays, it was decided that the best course of action would be to surgically remove the masses before they could cause problems by blocking the outflow of the crop into the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. We proceeded with surgery to remove these two crop stones, or ingluvioliths, from the budgie. Surgery was relatively quick as was the budgie's recovery. We were unable to find a cause for the stones in this bird, but possible theories include an underlying crop infection or any disease causing decreased intestinal motility. Some ingluvioliths have been shown to have seed husks in their centers! (Figure 3 shows the removed crop stones.)

This case stresses the importance of avian annual exams, which allow us to discover abnormalities early and hopefully fix them before serious health problems can occur.


We see emergencies during our normal hospital hours. If we determine that your pet requires overnight nursing care or a level of specialty we cannot provide here, we will co-ordinate your pet’s referral to the appropriate critical care or specialty hospital.

In the event of an emergency during our normal hospital hours, please call ahead if possible and proceed directly to our practice. Our main telephone number is (978) 486-3101.

For after-hours emergencies, we advise that you contact one of the emergency centers shown below.

Westford Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center
11 Cornerstone Drive, Westford, MA 01886
(P) 978-577-6525

Angell Animal Medical Center – Boston
350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(P) 617-522-7282

Animal Medical Center Emergency & Referral of New England
168 Main Dunstable Road, Nashua, NH 03060
(P) 603-821-7222

Bulger Veterinary Emergency Hospital
247 Chickering Road, North Andover, MA 01845
(P) 978-725-5544

Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital
20 Cabot Road, Woburn, MA 01801
(P) 781-932-5802

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536
(P) 508-839-5302

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
180 Bear Hill Road, Waltham, MA 02454
(P) 781-684-8387

  Rooster with Frostbite  

This rooster (shown at right) was brought in to Littleton Animal Hospital for evaluation due to severe depression, anorexia, and discoloration of the comb and wattle. These symptoms occurred after a period of extremely cold winter weather and high winds. The diagnosis was acute frostbite. The rooster was treated with IV fluids, pain medications, topical therapy of the comb and wattle, and syringe feeding. After a few days, the animal was released to its owners for further care. We have since heard that the rooster is very healthy and crowing loudly. It did have some permanent damage and loss of tissue as a result of the frostbite injury, however.


Littleton Animal Hospital maintains a complete inventory of both prescription and over the counter products to keep your pet happy and healthy. Our in-house pharmacy is stocked with prescription medications to provide preventive care, treat illnesses and ensure that your pet’s medication is always available. Other products available include vitamins, shampoos, and heartworm preventatives. We also sell products for birds, pocket pets and exotic animals.


Littleton Animal Hospital offers the latest technology in health care for your pet — therapeutic laser therapy. Our therapy laser provides a deep-penetrating light that allows relief of pain by releasing endorphins and stimulation cells to heal faster. Your pet will relax and enjoy the pain-free treatments.

What is Veterinary Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy is a surgery-free, drug-free, non-invasive treatment to relieve pain. It accelerates the body's natural healing process. Laser therapy is effective in treating chronic conditions, acute conditions, and post-surgical pain and inflammation in pets. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds or simply aging, laser therapy has been shown to provide relief and speed healing.

What Conditions Can Veterinary Laser Therapy Treat?

Feline conditions that pet laser therapy treats.   Canine conditions that pet laser therapy treats.  
Chronic and acute conditions that respond to laser therapy treatments include:
  • Anal Sacculitis
  • Arthritis
  • Aural Hematomas
  • Avian Specific Disorders
  • Back Pain
  • Burns
  • Chronic Neurological Conditions
  • Cystitis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Ear Disorders
  • Feline Acne
  • Fractures
  • Gingivitis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Lacerations
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Neck Pain
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Neuromuscular Disease
  • Oral Cavity Disorders
  • Orthopedic Disorders
  • Otitis (ear infections), acute and chronic
  • Post Surgical Pain Relief
  • Post Operative Healing
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis (hot spots)
  • Skin Conditions
  • Soft Tissue Trauma
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Stomatitis
  • Tooth Extraction Pain Relief
  • Trauma
  • Wound Healing

If you think that your pet would benefit from laser therapy call us at (978) 486-3101 to schedule a consultation to find out how laser therapy can help your dog or cat.

Littleton Animal Hospital offers boarding for cats, reptiles and exotic pets so that you can leave your pet in total comfort at our full service kennel.

Cat sleepingAt Littleton Animal Hospital, we try to make your pet's vacation a special occasion. We know the decision to board your pet can be an anxious time for you and your special friend. Our boarding facility provides a comfortable and relaxing home away from home for your pet when you need to be away on business, vacation or an emergency.

We pay special attention to assure your pet is safe and comfortable.

Boarding guests enjoy the following amenities:

  • Immaculately Clean Cages and Runs
  • Owner Visits and Tours of the Facility
  • A Clean & Comfy Atmosphere
  • Fresh Bedding & Daily Housekeeping
  • Spacious Kennels & Cat Condos
  • Individualized Care
  • Convenient Hours

We also offer peace of mind:

  • Attentive Staff
  • Individual Playtime
  • Extra Treats
  • Daily Veterinary Observations
  • Veterinary Medical Services if needed
  • All the Comforts of Home!

Boarding Requirements

  • Cats must be current on the following vaccines – Distemper (FVRCP) and Rabies Vaccine.
  • All pets must be free from internal and external parasites.
  • All pets must have had a full wellness exam with one of our veterinarians within the last 12 months to board.

Boarding Forms

Please fill out one of the below forms prior to your pet's next stay with us.

Feel free to fax your pet's vaccine history, along with your boarding form, to us at (978) 486-3101 prior to arrival. We look forward to your pet's vacation!

Annual veterinary care is crucial to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Click the icons below to learn more about what your veterinarian can do for your pet.

  Pet Exams icon   Pet Vaccines icon  

Exams check overall health and detect problems before they become severe or costly.


Vaccines protect against common and fatal diseases based on your pet's age and lifestyle.

Pet Dental & Oral Care icon   Veterinary Lab Tests icon   Parasite Prevention icon
Dental and oral care prevents bad breath and diseases that could become life-threatening.   Lab tests diagnose and prevent sickness or injury in safe and non-invasive ways.   Parasite prevention treats and protects against deadly heartworms, parasites, and flea/tick infestations.
  Pet Nutrition icon   Spaying & Neutering icon  
  Nutrition ensures your pet gets the balanced diet it needs and maintains a healthy weight.   Spaying and neutering protects pets from serious health and behavioral problems.  

Care Guides for Pet Owners

Your pet's health also depends on you. Click on the icons below to learn more about what pet owners can do at home to keep their pets living a long, healthy life.

Pet Home Care icon   Care for Pets at All Ages icon   Pet Ages & Stages icon

Home care is just as important as veterinary care in keeping your pet happy and healthy.


Care for all ages includes veterinary care and home care tips for your pet at every age.


Ages and stages is our chart to help you find out your pet's age in "human years."

Annual Pet Care logo

Bringing your pets to the veterinarian for a physical exam every year is the smartest and easiest way to keep them healthy. Exams allow your veterinarian to detect any problems before they become severe or costly.

Pet Exams for Dogs and CatsYour Veterinarian Will Check...

  • muscular and skeletal health by feeling for healthy muscle mass and joint pain.

  • neurologic system – it could indicate birth defects in younger pets, and cognitive issues in older pets.

  • appropriate weight and  lifestyle for your pet's age.

  • lymph nodes – swollen nodes can indicate a wound, virus, infection or some other illness.

  • vital signs (temperature, pulse and respiration) – an abnormal reading could indicate illness.

  • skin and coat condition for growths, infection wounds and overall skin health.

Bring Your Pet to the Veterinarian Every Year for a Clean Bill of Health and Peace of Mind

Your pet can't tell us what's wrong. But routine physical exams can help your veterinarian detect any problems or diseases you might not have otherwise picked up on, including heart murmurs, tumors, enlarged organs, cataracts, ear infections, ear mites, dental and gum disease, skin issues and allergies.

Download the Pet Exams handout

Annual Pet Care logo

Vaccines protect against common diseases that your pets may become exposed to.

Did You Know?

Vaccines have about a 95% success rate for preventing infections and fatal diseases.

  Canine Vaccines


The rabies vaccine is required by law and protects against the fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.

Distemper (DHPP)

This combination vaccine protects against viruses that cause life-threatening neurologic, respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.


This vaccine protects against a bacteria that can cause deadly kidney or liver disease. Leptospirosis is also transmissible to people.


This vaccine helps prevent Lyme disease, which is easily transmitted through the bite of an infected tick.


Lifestyle Vaccines

These might be recommended if your dog visits boarding facilities, groomers, training classes, dog parks, and other social settings.


This vaccine protects against an airborne respiratory virus known as "Kennel Cough."

Canine Influenza

The canine influenza vaccine protects against a contagious respiratory infection.

  Feline Vaccines


The rabies vaccine is required by law and protects against the fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.

Distemper (FVRCP)

This combination vaccine protects against viruses that cause life-threatening respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.

Lifestyle Vaccine

This is given to all outdoor cats, including those who go out occasionally -even if it's just on an open porch.

Feline Leukemia

This vaccine protects against the contagious and often fatal disease, which is easily spread between cats.




Vaccines are the key to a long and healthy life. Your veterinarian will suggest the best vaccines for your pet based on age, medical history and lifestyle.


Download the Pet Vaccines handout

New Clients

Thank you for choosing Littleton Animal Hospital to care for your pet. Downloading and filling out a New Client Form prior to your first appointment will greatly assist us in adding you and your pet to our system. Please feel free to fax it to us at (978) 486-0987 or to bring it with you to your pet's first appointment. We will be happy to contact your previous veterinarian to obtain any necessary information or documentation regarding your pet's medical history.

New Client Form - Canine & Feline
New Client Form - Avian
New Client Form - Reptile
New Client Form - Exotic Pet

Boarding Forms

We offer safe and comfy Pet Boarding for birds, cats and exotic pets. Please fill out one of the below forms prior to your pet's next stay with us.

Avian Boarding Form
Feline Boarding Form
Exotic Pet Boarding Form

Annual Pet Care logo

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Without proper preventive or home care, plaque and tartar can build up, which may cause oral infections, bad breath, infected gum tissues (gingivitis) or even bone loss (periodontitis).

Did You Know?

It's not normal for your pet to have bad breath – it can be a sign of serious dental or gum issues.

Pet Dental & Oral Care


Sixty percent of dental disease is hidden below the gum line, and can only be found with x-rays. Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about screenings, cleanings and products available to help keep those pearly whites clean.


Download the Pet Dental & Oral Care handout

Annual Pet Care logo

Yearly lab tests are safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose and prevent sickness or injuries in pets that a physical exam cannot detect.

  Dog and Cat icon

Blood Screening

A blood screening checks for anemia, parasites, infections, organ function and sugar levels. It is important to get a blood test annually for your pet, to help your veterinarian establish a benchmark for normal values and easily see any changes that may point to problems.


This test has the ability to screen for diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder/kidney stones, as well as dehydration and early kidney disease.

Intestinal Parasite Check

Using a stool sample, your veterinarian can check to see if your pet has parasites. Many parasites can be passed on to humans, so it is important to complete this screening annually, especially if your pet has any symptoms including upset stomach, loss of appetite and weight loss.


Routine testing can add years to your pet's life. Your veterinarian will recommend lab tests appropriate for your pet based on age and lifestyle.

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  Dog Icon

Canine Tests

Your veterinarian may check for the presence of heartworms in your dog, as well as the three common tick-borne diseases – Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia Canis.
  Cat icon

Feline Tests

A combination test checks for heartworm, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FeLV and FIV are serious diseases that weaken the immune system, making cats susceptible to a variety of infections and other diseases. FeLV is spread through casual contact, and FIV is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. They can also be transferred to cats by their mothers. Any new pets, or sick/stray cats entering a household, should be tested.

Blood Pressure Testing

Senior cats are routinely tested for high blood pressure. It may occur as a secondary disease to another illness and is commonly seen in older cats. But it can affect a cat at any age and cause damage to the eyes, heart, brain and kidneys. A new heart murmur or alterations in your cat's eyes during a routine exam may prompt your veterinarian to take a blood pressure reading.


Annual Pet Care logo

Prevention is the best approach in protecting your pet against deadly heartworms, intestinal parasites, and flea and tick infestations. Your veterinarian will help you find the product that is right for your pet based on his or her needs.


are assessed visually by your veterinarian.

  Flea icon


Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid. All cats and dogs are susceptible to flea infestations. Beyond the skin irritation and discomfort, flea infestations can also cause deadly infections, flea-allergy dermatitis (OUCH!) and the transmission of tapeworm parasites if ingested.

Tick icon


Ticks can spread serious infectious diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis to pets and people. Pet owners should inspect their pets regularly for ticks, large and small, especially after being outside in a wooded or grassy area.


are assessed by blood tests and fecal exams.

  Intestinal Parasite icon

Intestinal Parasites

Roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, whipworm, Coccidia, Giardia and Cryptosporidium are all common in cats and dogs. Many of these parasites can be transmitted to you and your family if your pet becomes infected.

Heartworm icon


Mosquitoes can spread heartworm, a harmful disease that affects both dogs and cats. As its name implies, heartworm lives in the blood of a pet's heart and blood vessels. We recommend annual screenings for both dogs and cats, even if they are already on heartworm preventatives.


Life is better for your pet and family without parasites.
Let us help you choose your flea, tick, heartworm and
intestinal parasite preventatives today!


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