When you own a cat or dog, you know you need to take it to your local veterinarian for check-ups, vaccinations, and treatment if it becomes sick.
If you own an exotic pet, you need to have a veterinarian that you can count on to look after your pet when it needs care.
However, the vet you have for your exotic pet might not be the same one you have for your domestic animals.
Can’t you take your exotic pets to the same vet?
This might be something you think you’ll be able to do, but you need a specialized veterinarian who is experienced in looking after the type of exotic pet you own. Some dog and cat vets don’t have this level of experience.
The right veterinarian for your exotic pet will be able to offer you assistance with taking care of your pet, from how to adjust your exotic animal’s diet if necessary to answering any concerns you might have when it comes to owning this unusual type of pet.
Bear in mind that your exotic pet will have many different needs, unlike a cat or dog, such as when it comes to its habitat and general care.
So, with that in mind, let’s explore the issue of exotic pets and veterinarians, as well as where you can find exotic pet veterinarians.
Why You Can’t Take Your Exotic Pet To An Ordinary Veterinarian
Earlier, we mentioned that your vet should have experience when it comes to treating the type of pet you have.
However, there are many other reasons why you should take your exotic pets to a more specialized vet instead of a regular one.
Your Exotic Pet Has Special Requirements
When compared to domesticated animals such as cats and dogs, there’s no doubt that exotic pets have many more requirements regarding their eating plans and habitats.
For example, some exotic pets need to be in an enclosure that’s got the correct level of temperature, light, and humidity.
All of them require a specialized diet to keep them healthy, especially because they are not in their natural habitats in the wild. It’s clear that there are many things to consider.
Looking after an exotic pet can be a tricky experience, so consulting with a vet who understands the animal’s specific requirements as compared to other pets is essential.
You Never Know When An Emergency Will Strike
It’s easy to think that you can just get in touch with an exotic pet vet when you need one, but you never know when something can happen to threaten your pet’s health or even life.
When your animal falls ill, you shouldn’t waste any time to get it help.
This is crucial for any type of pet you own, but it’s especially important when you have an exotic pet in your care.
As an example, most exotic pets have fast metabolisms that mean they can’t go longer than a day without eating before they become sick.
Usually an ordinary vet won’t be able to help you if your exotic pet falls ill or has an emergency, which is why you need to ensure you have an exotic pet vet at hand should an emergency present itself.
You Can Prevent Your Exotic Pet Getting Sick
By sticking to regular check-ups at your exotic pet’s vet, you can learn more about types of illnesses that can harm your specific pet and how to prevent them.
Sometimes just ensuring that you feed your pet the right food and give them the correct enclosure that meets all their requirements will keep infections and illness at bay.
Your specialized vet can help you to stay on guard and prevent your pet from getting sick, which will prevent stressful situations from arising.
Exotic pet vets need the right equipment. Look around at your local vet’s practice.
Do you see any items that show evidence that your vet will be able to treat an exotic animal?
Exotic pet hospitals will be excellently equipped to maintain the health of your exotic pet by having the supplies they need, such as a tank for enclosing reptiles and small scales to weigh tiny animals such as sugar gliders.
Vets Need To Know How To Handle Exotic Pets
Equipment aside, exotic pet vets will also be trained to know the best ways to handle them, such as when drawing blood for tests or giving them x-rays, so that the animal is not put under unnecessary stress or injured.
They will also be able to teach you how to administer any medication you need to give your exotic pets if they are sick.
Where To Find A Specialized Veterinarian For Your Exotic Pet
If you’re so used to taking domestic pets to your local veterinarian practice, you might feel a little overwhelmed now that you have an exotic pet.
Where will you take your ball python or capybara for medical assistance?
- One of the first things you can do when trying to find an exotic pet vet is to consult with your local vet for any recommendations. They will probably know a veterinarian practice that can attend to your type of exotic pet and refer you to them.
- Contact animal organizations. Local rescue groups of exotic pets can prove valuable in helping you to find a vet that will be able to treat your exotic pet. You could even contact breeders of the animal in question. In addition, if you purchased your exotic pet from a pet store, they might also be able to help you.
- You can conduct a general online search for exotic pet veterinarians as that should provide you with some results of vets in your area. Valuable resources to check out include the American College of Zoological Medicine and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
- Finally, if you know of a friend, whether in real life or on social media, who owns an exotic pet, now’s the time to get in touch with them as they might be able to refer you to someone!
What If You Can’t Find An Exotic Pet Vet?
Earlier in this article, we talked about why you need a vet who’s specialized in treating exotic animals, but there are times when you could consult with a regular vet – the catch is that this regular vet needs to have some experience with treating exotic pets.
They need to have had the right training in order to do so, so always ask them about their qualifications before you bring your pet to see them.
It’s also important that you have a regular vet who is a member of specialty organizations, such as the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), and the Association of Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), as The Spruce Pets advises.
This will ensure that they are more qualified to treat certain exotic pets.
Before bringing in your exotic pet for an evaluation or health concern, phone ahead and let your vet know what type of animal you want to bring to them.
Transporting your exotic pet can be stressful, for both you and your animal, so you want to ensure your vet is expecting you and can accommodate your pet.
Will A Regular Vet Accept Your Exotic Pet?
While veterinarians learn to look after and treat a variety of animals, such as dogs, cats, cows, pigs, and horses when they attend veterinary school, these institutions don’t all teach their students about unusual pets, such as rodents and reptiles.
When it comes to pets such as sugar gliders and chinchillas, for instance, these are even more unusual, and therefore fewer veterinarian schools will be able to provide education on these exotic animals.
While the regular vet might tell you that they do have experience with exotic pets, they might not have any experience with your specific animal!
Therefore, it’s essential to speak to your vet about the exotic pet you are going to be purchasing before you bring it home.
That way, you’ll have a place to take your pet when you need advice on its care, and you won’t be in a situation of having to try to find a vet who can treat your pet during an emergency.
If they cannot help you, you’ll also have ample time in which to find a more experienced vet when it comes to exotic animals.
Whichever vet you choose, make sure that the hospital or clinic will always be available in case you have an emergency.
They should also be able to provide you with after-hour emergency contact details.
What About Medications For Your Exotic Pet?
Something you might not think about until your pet is in a health emergency is how you will be able to get it the medication it needs when it is sick.
Some exotic pet veterinarians will be specialized when it comes to administering medicine to these pets.
What specialization means is that the veterinarian will have had to prove their skill in exotic pet medicine and have had to pass a licensing board exam for it.
While this isn’t required by exotic pet vets, it is important to ensure that they can treat exotic pets successfully.
Always make sure that you speak to the vet about if they’re specialized in medicating exotic pets or not so that you’ll be reassured that they are the right vet for the new addition to your family.
A note on medication
Although you might think that all pets can have the same medication, this isn’t true.
While some dogs and cats might be able to tolerate certain drugs, these can be unsuitable to treat health conditions in exotic pets, which is another important reason why you want to ensure your pet is in the best care of a specialized vet.
Some considerations to bear in mind when it comes to exotic pets and medication to treat health problems is that some medications are not just unsuitable, but toxic to them.
An example is penicillin which is poisonous for guinea pigs.
In addition to this, some exotic pets need to be treated for pain when they are injured or have a health problem as they are more sensitive to its effects and when they are in pain it can cause them to stop eating, which can complicate any health problems they might be facing.
Examples of exotic pets who need pain relief include rabbits and guinea pigs, so it’s vital for your pet’s vet to know about this and give your exotic pet the best care.
No matter what pet you own, you should always ensure you have a trustworthy and skilled veterinarian you can turn to during an emergency or just for regular check-ups.
It’s often much easier to find a vet for a cat or dog. When it comes to exotic pets it can be trickier to find a vet who’s specialized in treating them.
However, in this article we’ve looked at different ways in which you can find an exotic pet vet as well as why this is important, such as that it can ensure your pet receives the correct treatment and medication when needed.
Invest time and effort into finding your interesting and unusual pet the right exotic pets veterinarian.
You never know when it could save their life!