The term “exotics” commonly refers to pet species besides cats, dogs, or farm animals. These include reptiles, birds, and small mammals – among many others. Such wide scope presents problems when it comes to specialized treatment. While many vet schools teach domestic animal care, very few focus on less common species, let alone very unusual ones. It takes a long time to become a certified specialist for just one species and many people don’t know this. Thus, when someone’s exotic pet falls sick, they usually expect any vet they come across to treat their pet satisfactorily. I mean, they’re all pets after all, right? Wrong.
Exotic vets and specialization
An exotic vet can’t see all types of exotic pets. They’re specialize in treating ONE species. In the veterinary practice’s earlier times, specialization was not a requirement. “Exotic vets” did their jobs as general pet practitioners. They would take their knowledge of one species, apply it to another, and extend the treatment. But a cat is not a small dog. After several tragedies caused by inappropriate treatment, we now know better.
A specialized bird vet cannot treat small mammals, and the same should be expected if you brought a marsupial to a reptile specialist. It is wise to look for an exotic vet that is an appropriate match for your pet’s species. If their credentials don’t match, they should decline treatment, otherwise you’re just courting disaster.
Treating exotic pets
Handling exotic pets requires lots of skill and a wealth of experience with that species. Every exotic pet is different, in terms of dietary, environmental, and survival needs. An exotic DFW vet needs the skills and acumen to handle your sick chameleon. It takes a qualified helper to know how much anesthesia your parrot can handle.
Additionally, surgery equipment must be tailored and specific. Vet hospitals should include special dental instruments, and oxygen cages. A qualified DFW vet must also have the capability to handle emergency situations. Many exotic pets are not sufficiently adapted to live like domesticated animals, and only a qualified and experienced exotic vet understands this. For example, a noisy and brightly lit room, full of commotion may not be a great place to have a small sick pig. Temperature and humidity should be controlled as well, to suit the specific pet.
Finding the right vet
It’s very important for exotic pet owners to find their correct veterinarian, and the Shot Spot is a great start. We are specifically trained to treat many exotic species, and possess the experience, skill, and tools to administer quality treatment.
The right vet should have the capacity to handle emergency situations, be it laboratory resources, or a qualified support staff. Organizations that certify specialists in exotic vets’ fields include the American College of Zoological Medicine and American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
You can find a list of certified DFW exotic vets on these websites, complete with locations and hours. We come highly recommended.