Choose a veterinary hospital for your exotic pets: 5 basic questions

Every few weeks, I get a call from a desperate foreign pet owner at a foreign pet hospital in New York, where he seeks advice about their sick pets somewhere far away. Although there are some good resources on the Internet that can lead people to find good local veterinarians, these veterinarians can treat exotic species well, but for some people in remote areas, it is difficult to find a foreign pet veterinarian. What is the most important thing when you are looking for an exotic pet veterinarian? Here are 5 basic considerations:

1. How many veterinarians have been treated (snakes, birds, ferrets, rabbits, animals of any kind)?

Although practice may not always be perfect, it does get better. The more specific species a veterinarian sees, the more likely he or she is to identify the disease and be able to recommend appropriate treatments. Most veterinarians receive little or no training on exotic animal species at school, so if they really want to learn how to care for these animals, they must look for information themselves. The veterinarian who takes the initiative to run a mile to learn about exotic pets is the veterinarian you want to see.

2. Is the veterinary hospital set up to accommodate foreign pets?

Although many cat and dog hospitals will see foreign pets, they often do so because they are the only games in town. Many cat and dog hospitals treat an exotic pet only if no one else wants it, and the pet is really ill. If you have some basic equipment and supplies, you can really decide whether to set up a veterinary hospital to treat foreign pets, such as a small scale, which weighs in grams, is used to weigh foreign pets, or A water tank used to safely surround reptiles. If they do not have equipment specifically designed to treat and examine often smaller foreign patients, they are likely to not treat many of them.

3. Can veterinary technicians handle foreign patients comfortably?

Knowing how to handle foreign pets safely is an art that takes years to master. Most exotic animals are prey species that are stressed once they are restricted. No matter how good a veterinarian is in the medical care of an exotic species, the veterinarian cannot perform good medical care without the great technicians able to raise the animals comfortably. By observing how veterinarians can restrain and manipulate your exotic pets, you can see how often they actually handle exotic pets. Technicians and veterinarians who have received training on foreign pet restraints should relax and have a plan on how to pick up and hold pets. If they are trying to find a way to grab your pet, their experience is likely to be limited.

4. Are veterinarians and/or veterinarians members members of any foreign pet professional organization?

There are several specialized foreign animal groups, such as the Bird Veterinary Association, the Foreign Mammal Veterinary Association, the Reptile and Amphibian Veterinary Association, and many veterinarians interested in pet care abroad. These organizations provide continuing education to veterinary professionals. Typically, individuals who wish to continue to learn about exotic pet care knowledge will join one or more of these groups to stay current. Veterinarians belonging to these groups usually display the logo of the organization on the sticker on the hospital window or on the hospital customer profile. Each of these organizations has a website that lists the current members geographically. If the vet takes time and money to join these organizations, he or she has at least a strong interest in exotic pets.

5. Does the veterinary hospital provide care for foreign pet emergencies?

This is something that most exotic pet owners don't think of before facing their pet's emergency. Although some animal hospitals have on-call veterinarians and technicians who stay overnight in hospitals to care for critical cases, most veterinary hospitals are not open 24/7, but instead arrange overnight and emergency care with local 24-hour emergency clinics. However, although local emergency clinics are often happy to receive dog and cat emergencies, they are not always able to handle the emergency of a foreign pet. When choosing an animal hospital to take care of your unique exotic pets, be sure to ask the veterinarian staff how they treated the exotic pet patient in a few hours. If they do not have a contingency plan, they may treat very few heterogeneous diseases. Just as your dog and cat veterinarian should have a plan for a few hours after an emergency, it should also be your exotic pet vet. This may be the most important issue to consider when choosing a doctor for your beloved pet. Don't be afraid to ask. The answer may be the difference between life and death.