Choosing a Vet for Your Exotic Pet, 5 Important Questions

If you have exotic pets such as pocket pets, avian pets, or even primates, it can be difficult to find a high-quality veterinary hospital. Like commonly domesticated animals, these unusual pets require appropriate care, particularly from animal health professionals, especially when it comes to pet care. While most hospitals only care for common companion animals such as dogs and cats, some can also care for exotics.

5 Fundamental Questions

What are the most important things to look for in an exotic pet vet? Here are five critical factors to think about:

1. What species has this vet treated the most?

While practice does not necessarily lead to perfection, it does lead to improvement. The more specific species a veterinarian sees, the more likely they are to diagnose the ailment and offer the proper treatment. Unfortunately, most veterinarians receive little to no training in exotic animal species in school. As a result, they must conduct independent research to discover how to care for these animals. The veterinarian, like avian and exotics vet in Astoria who take the effort to go the extra mile to learn about exotic animals, is the veterinarian you’d intend to see.

2. Can exotic pets be treated at the vet?

Many cat and dog hospitals will see exotic pets, but only if they are the only game in town. Likewise, many veterinary clinics will only treat an exotic pet if no one else will and the pet is sick. However, this animal hospital should be equipped to treat exotic pets and have the basic equipment and supplies required, such as a small scale weighing in grams for evaluating small exotic pets or a tank for safely enclosing a reptile. However, if they don’t have equipment designed specifically to treat and examine typically smaller exotic patients, they probably don’t treat many of them.

3. Are veterinary technicians comfortable with exotics?

Knowing how to handle exotic pets safely is truly an art that takes years to perfect. The majority of exotic animals are prey species that become stressed when restrained. No matter how skilled a veterinarian is in the medical care of exotic species, that vet cannot provide excellent care unless they have access to excellent technical staff to hold these animals comfortably. You can tell how frequently veterinary technicians handle exotic pets by watching how they restrain and manipulate your exotic pet. And also how they do cat teeth cleaning on your bizarre pet.

4. Are the vets and employees members of exotic pet professional organizations?

There are several professional exotic animal groups to which veterinarians interested in exotic pet care belong, including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. These organizations offer veterinary professionals continuing education. Individuals who want to stay current on exotic pet care will typically join one or more of these groups. If a veterinarian spends the time and money to join one of these groups, they must be enthusiastic about exotic animals.

5. Does the vet treat exotic pet emergencies?

When selecting an animal hospital to care for your unique exotic pet, inquire about how they handle exotic pet patients who have emergencies after hours. They’ll probably only treat a few exotics if they don’t have a backup plan. However, just as your dog and cat veterinarians should have an after-hours emergency plan, so should your exotic pet veterinarian. When looking for a veterinarian for your beloved animal companion, this is likely the most critical question to ask. So don’t be shy about asking. The solution may mean the difference between life and death.