You may think that a vet is a vet, and they are all qualified to treat any animal. To a certain extent, this is true, and all vets are qualified to give emergency care and first aid to any animal. However, not all vets have the knowledge or experience to confidently treat reptile patients. Likewise, a standard veterinary practice may not keep medications in stock that reptiles require, have suitable housing to care for a reptile or have an exotic nursing team that would be able to assist in treatment options.
So, if you have a reptile, your best option would be to do a little research and see what exotic vets are local to you. Let’s look at different ways in which you can find a veterinary practice to treat your reptilian companion.
Ask your existing practice
Call your local practice and see if they have a vet who has experience with reptiles. If the answer is no, then they will likely know of a veterinary practice that does have an exotics vet. Veterinary practices are used to clients calling and asking if they can treat a variety of animals. So it is common for them to know of a practice in the area that would be able to help.
When calling your veterinary practice, it may be that they do not have a vet who is experienced with reptiles. However, there may be a nurse who has cared for and treated reptiles, either at home or at another practice. Whilst a veterinary nurse cannot diagnose a condition or prescribe certain medications, they are normally armed with a wealth of knowledge. A veterinary nurse with reptile experience can always discuss husbandry, diet, common health problems and preventative treatment that is available to you. They may also be able to guide you in the right direction of an exotic veterinary practice that they know of.
Speak with your local reptile provider
Whether you’ve adopted a reptile from a rescue centre, purchased one from a store or bought one from a private breeder, the chances are they’ve had a sick reptile before and will know of a good exotic veterinary practice that they can recommend.
Experienced keepers and breeders will also have plenty of advice to give. So if you’re worried about your reptile, they could be a good starting point. However, it’s always best to gain the advice of a veterinary surgeon regarding your poorly reptile. Whilst reptile keepers are extremely knowledgeable, it’s better to be safe and get an accurate diagnosis. Do not be tempted to try old medications given to you by rescues or private sellers; always seek the professional opinion of a veterinarian.
Vet Help Direct
Why faff around when all the answers you need are right here on Vet Help Direct? We have a really useful feature called ‘Vets near me’ where you can search for a veterinary practice by using your postcode. There is a filter option, where you can select what animals you require to be treated; whether it’s a bird, a fish or your reptile!
You’ll be able to find the practice’s opening times, contact details and facilities; as well as reviews from fellow VetHelpDirect users.
Reptile forums are another great way to access useful information that’s available right at your fingertips. Forums are accessible online and you can connect with reptile keepers worldwide. Reptile keeping is constantly evolving and changing with new ways of husbandry, diet and care and by being part of a reptile form, you’ll be able to keep up with all the latest tips.
You may be able to find a forum or Facebook group that is local to your area or county. This can be a good place to start in order to find a reputable exotic veterinary practice recommended by like-minded reptile keepers.
Popular reptile forums include:
Keep in mind that forums should not be used as an alternative to visiting a veterinary practice. If you are worried about your reptile, require medication or just want a general health check, always visit a veterinary practice.
RCVS – Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Database
The governing body for veterinary surgeons and nurses is the RCVS. They provide an online database of veterinary practices within the UK. These practices can be filtered depending on which animals they treat as well as practice contact details and practice staff members.
Why do reptiles need an exotic vet?
Reptiles are completely different to cats, dogs and small mammals. The treatment options and medications required vary greatly and their bodies work in different ways. Many vets have little experience with reptiles due to them being less commonly owned in comparison to cats and dogs. Cats and dogs frequently visit veterinary practices, whether that be for health checks, annual boosters or for general illness. It could be said that veterinary surgeons in general practice are less likely to see reptiles as they are not required to visit a veterinary practice as often as their fluffy cousins. Therefore, it is important to visit a veterinary surgeon who sees reptiles regularly in order to receive the most up-to-date care.
Always do your research to find which veterinary practice would suit your needs best. Recommendations are always a great way to locate a practice with a good reputation, especially one that deals with an exotic species.