Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
VS: Are there any particularly memorable cases you weren't able to include in the book? LH:I have a whole ‘nother book in my head!I had a rabbit who was initially brought in by a man whose daughter was in high school, and he was really reluctant to spend a lot of money on the animal. It ended up having a very bad dental problem that required quite a bit of surgery, and he really wasn’t sure he wanted to spend the money.
Well, they decided to go for it, and the rabbit did really well, and then the daughter went off to college a year or so later, at which point the father got really, really close to this rabbit. It became his rabbit. The rabbit required multiple surgeries, but ended up living many, many, many years. In looking back, he was able to say to me, “I went from really not caring about this animal so much to realizing how important it was to my daughter—that’s why I did the surgery to begin with—to then really realizing how important it was to me. I had no idea I could bond with this rabbit in the way that I did.” He didn’t regret a minute—or one penny—spent with or on this rabbit.
VS: What one thing do you hope readers take away?LH: A lot of people wonder what it’s like to be a veterinarian, and being an exotics veterinarian puts a little twist on that. So for anyone who’s ever been curious about what it’s like to be a veterinarian, to take the work home with you but also be a real person with a family and kids and sporting events and all kinds of stuff, I think the book provides a really good example of that.
Also, my message is always that these animals deserve proper medical and preventive care, because most of the time, we only see these pets when they’re dying or really, really sick, and that’s because many people don’t even realize that they should bring these animals in regularly for care, as they might for a dog or cat.
Exotic pets can be amazing, and you can see the incredible bonds they seem to have with their owners in the book, but they are a commitment and they do require work — if you’re going to have one, you need to know what you’re getting into.
VS: With that in mind, are there any guidelines you wish owners of exotic pets would keep in mind regarding preventive veterinary care?LH:I definitely think that when you get a new exotic pet—whether you adopt it, buy it, whatever you do— you should have it checked out right away to make sure it’s healthy and also to make sure you’re aware of the most up-to-date ways to care for it. There’s a lot of really outdated stuff on the internet, and even pet stores aren’t always telling you the most up-to-date information. So finding a veterinarian who’s really knowledgeable and current on exotics is really important.
If you’re looking for an exotics veterinarian, I recommend going through one of these three organizations: the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians or the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. Many people are members of all of them, because few people just treat reptiles or just treat birds. But you know that if someone is taking the time to join these organizations that they’re serious about these pets.
Also, don’t introduce the new pet to your pets at home until you’re sure it's healthy and come in at least annually [to see the vet]. For certain species and some of the geriatric pets—and geriatric has different meanings for the different species—come in twice a year.
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.