The vast majority of small animal training in veterinary school is devoted to canine and feline medicine. If veterinarians want to treat birds, ferrets, or snakes, they need to do a lot of work on their own during and long after veterinary school.
Exotic pet refers to any pet not commonly seen in traditional canine and feline practice and includes pet birds, reptiles, rabbits, rodents, exotic cats, miniature pigs, sugar gliders, small hooved stock, and sometimes zoo species. Although a rabbit is probably not considered “exotic” by most, care of these species requires special knowledge and training.
Exotic Vets for Exotic Pets
Specializing in or even seeing exotics for basic health care is something many vets won’t do if they don’t have the expertise. Even an “exotics” vet may not see all exotics. A vet may have the training to see birds but not reptiles; small mammals but not hedgehogs or marsupials; and so on. If a veterinary office tells you over the phone they are not willing to see your sugar glider, you should be grateful — not angry.
Traditional veterinary education usually does not adequately prepare veterinarians for the care of unusual pet species. Mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians all have their own anatomy and physiology, and treating their illnesses requires knowledge of this diversity. When veterinarians attempt to treat these special species as if they were cats and dogs, serious harm can occur. Veterinarians treating exotic and non-traditional pets must make the commitment to learn about these special species, and spend continuing education time keeping up with the latest advancements in exotic pet care.
Finding an Exotic Vet
If they have no experience with your exotic, they must gracefully decline treatment. With any luck, they can refer you to a place that can help, but it is wrong for vets to be forced to see species that are out of their field of expertise.
Pennsylvania has an extensive list of exotics vets. So, if an exotics vet in Pennsylvania is what you are looking for, check out this list. Not all Pennsylvanian exotics vets see all exotic pets so be sure you call the clinic of your choice to see if they see your pet.
Some veterinarians are also specialists in pocket pets, reptiles or avian species. These veterinarians have had extra training and certification to show they are specialized in treating these kinds of exotic pets. Although these are experienced exotics vets, don't disregard other vets who are also experienced but have not gotten their specialization.
Exotic Vets in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania exotics vets are pretty plentiful, and if you think you don't need to take your pet rabbit, ferret, bird, or other exotic pet to one because you don't vaccinate them, then you're wrong. Even if the kind of pet you have doesn't require vaccines, they should still get at least an annual check-up with an exotics vet. Exotics are very good at hiding their illnesses until they just can't cover it up any longer. Therefore, it is very important to catch diseases early on and before your pet starts showing symptoms.
Even if your exotic pet doesn't need vaccines and doesn't appear ill to you, it is always a good idea to have a wellness check done once a year. Depending on the type of exotic pet you have, the exotics vet may want a fecal sample to run tests for bacteria and parasites, and at the very least, if you have an emergency with your pet you'll know where you're headed. Most exotic pet species are masters at hiding illness from owners. Most are prey species, and an important survival trick is to hide injury and illness to prevent predators from targeting them. Therefore, regular veterinary visits are important to help detect early indications of illness.
If you can't find the right exotics vet for you in Pennsylvania, consider checking a neighboring state.
Where to Find an Exotic Pet Veterinarian in Pennsylvania
Is there a reptile veterinarian in the area? Don’t all vets see gerbils? Here's a list of veterinarians in Pennsylvania who treat exotic pets.
- Animal Health Center (3 locations in Southern Pines, West End, and Raeford), 910-692-4201, 910-673-3103, 910-875,8312
- Dr. Brian Anmuth, Simmons Animal Hospital, 1500 Wolf Street, Philadelphia, 215-468-2814
- Dr. Edward R. Bennett, All Pet Animal Hospital, 5007 Route 8 Gibsonia/Allison Park, Pittsburgh, 724-444-6600
- Blair Animal Hospital, 1308 3rd Ave., Duncansville, 814-317-0013
- Dr. Matthew Buck, Downington Animal Hospital, 5033 Horseshoe Pike, Downingtown, 610-269-4209
- Capitol Area Animal Medical Center, 6 N. Progress Ave., Harrisburg, 717-652-0713
- Carlisle Small Animal Clinic, 25 Shady Lane, Carlisle, 717-243-2717
- Dr. Dorothy Clair, Green Lane Veterinary Hospital, Rt. 1 Box 1, Green Lane, 215-234-0434
- Dr. Elizabeth Clark, Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, 2150 N. Bethlehem Pike, Quakertown, 215-536-6245 (sees birds and pocket pets, call about other exotic pets)
- Dr. Calvin Clements, Palmyra Animal Clinic/Central PA Animal Clinics, 920 East Main Street, Palmyra, 717-838-5451
- Dr. Adam G. Denish, Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital, 7905 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia, 215-333-8888
- Dr. Owen De Vos, Hamilton Animal Care, 6110 Hamilton Blvd., Wescosville, 610-395-0707
- Dr. Len Donato, Dipl. ABVP (Avian), Radnor Veterinary Hospital, 107 North Aberdeen Avenue, Wayne, 610-687-1550
- Dr. David Dorn, West Liberty Animal Hospital, 3055 W. Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, 412-341-3383
- Dr. Keith Dorton, Scranton Animal Hospital, 911 Providence Rd., Scranton, 570-347-0853
- Dr. Toby Erlichman, Animal Hospital of Chester County, 1353 Pottstown Pike, West Chester, 610-692-7560
- Dr. Randon Feinsod, Ani-Care Animal Hospital, 2740 S Queen St., Dallastown, 866-930-1959
- Dr. Alan Friedlander, Dr. Richie Burdeaux, Animal Medical Hospital, 1909 N. Atherton St., State College, 814-308-0417
- Dr. Sheldon Gerstenfeld, Chestnut Hill Veterinary Hospital, 903 Bethlehem Pike, Glenside, 215-836-2950
- Dr. Gloria Goodman, ABVP, Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center, 3000 Concord Road, Aston, 610-494-2811
- Dr. Cynthia Hartz, Dr. Brian Novak, Animal Medical Center, 25 West Third Avenue, Trappe, 610-489-8982
- Dr. Robert Heidecker, Good Hope Small Animal Clinic, 6108 Carlisle Pike, Suite 120, Mechanicsburg, 717-766-5535
- Hickory Veterinary Hospital, 2303 Hickory Rd., Plymouth Meeting, 610-828-3054
- Dr. Joseph Hyduke, Malvern Veterinary Hospital, 545 S. Warren Ave., Malvern, 610-647-2626
- Dr. Betsy Kennon, Dr. Denise Pleban, Northview Animal Hospital, 223 Siebert Road, Pittsburgh, 412-364-5353
- Dr. Linda Keon, Dr. Christina J. Mackensen, Animal Hospital of Warwick, 2370 York Road A-1, Jamison, 215-343-5300
- Dr. Rebecca Ladd, VCA Northside Animal Hospital, 185 Mikron Rd., Bethlehem, 610-759-5922
- Dr. John Lutz, Wintergreen Animal Hospital, 8439 Wattsburg Road, Erie, 814-825-6735
- Dr. John Lyon, Corry Veterinary Clinic, 316 E. Columbus Ave., Corry, 814-664-4046
- Dr. Pat MacCabe, Canadensis Veterinary Clinic, 2560 Route 390, Canadensis, 570-595-9081
- Manheim Pike Veterinary Hospital, 1669 Manheim Pike, Lancaster, 717-569-6424
- Maple Hills Veterinary Hospital, 862 Kressler Rd., Allentown, 215-395-3743
- Dr. Steven Marks, Dublin Veterinary Clinic, 464 Deep Run Road, Perkasie, 215-249-9800
- Dr. Leigh Marsh, Schneider Veterinary Clinic, 1115 W. Erie Ave, Philadelphia, 215-226-0610
- Dr. Kimberly Mickley, ABVP (Avian), Lehigh Valley Animal Hospital, 6350 Tilghman Street, Allentown, 610-395-0328
- Penn Vet Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, 3900 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, 215-898-4680
- Pet's Best Friend Veterinary Hospital, 7029 Bristol Pike, Levittown, 215-547-5447
- Dr. Kevin Ramey, Animal Ark Pet Hospital, 3024 W 12 St., Erie, 814-838-7387
- Dr. James Reed, Bakerstown Animal Hospital, 5814 William Flynn Highway, Bakerstown, 412-443-8200
- Dr. Kathleen Revelt, New Stanton Veterinary Service for Avian and Companion Pets, 119 Stan Avenue, New Stanton 724-925-8244
- Dr. Arline Rosenfeld, Buxmont Veterinary Hospital, 393 Langhorne Avenue, Langhorne, 215-741-0148
- Dr. Judy Rutkowski, Allentown Animal Clinic, 2640 Walbert Ave., Allentown, 610-434-4470
- Dr. Pat Slanga, Adamstown Veterinary Hospital, 2481 N. Reading Road, Denver, 717-484-0440
- Dr. Tammy Stone, Veterinary Medical Center of Lebanon Inc., 602 Cornwall Road, Lebanon, 717-270-1989
- Dr. John Stoner, Mount Rock Animal Hospital, 7473 Molly Pitcher Hwy., Shippensburg, 717-532-8599
- Dr. James Temple, Sunbury Animal Hospital, 400 State St., Sunbury, 570-286-5131
- The Animal Hospital on the Golden Strip, 1828 E. Third St., Williamsport, 570-273-1083
- VCA Cacoosing Animal Hospital, 5100 Penn Ave., Wernersville, 610-678-2403
- VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital, 3610 Library Rd., Pittsburgh, 412-885-2500
- VCA Delaware Valley Animal Hospital, 266 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills, 215-946-1111
- Dr. John Widenmeyer, Flowers Mill Veterinary Hospital, 10 Flowers Mill Rd., Langhorn, 215-752-1010
- Wright Veterinary Medical Center, 3247 Wimmer Rd., Bethlehem, 610-865-2611
- Dr. Carol Lynn Yeisley, Berkshire Veterinary Services, 3804 Pricetown Road, Fleetwood, 610-944-3100