Are There More Exotic Pets?

By Karin Krisher

exotic petsWe’ve noticed a trend in the news lately: exotic pets are all around us. Sometimes they stay put in our neighbor’s home; sometimes they make it into the street. When that happens, it’s a front-page story. As with all trends, we’re not sure if these incidents are occurring more often, are more widely reported, or if we’re paying more attention. Whatever the reason for the boom in exotic pets, it’s happening, and we want to know more.

Take the numbers into account when you want to explain our curiosity; according to the most recent American Pet Products Association Pet Owners Survey, the U.S. is home to the following pets: 16.2 million birds, 151.1 million freshwater fish, 8.61 million saltwater fish, 13 million reptiles and 16 million small animals. We wish we had the stats on which small animals, (rabbits, ferrets, chinchillas?) but suffice it to say that the number of non dog and cat pets is ever-growing.

That means the need for care is also growing. Vetri-Science has always focused on companion animals only, so we know which of our vets treat just dogs and cats, which treat equine, and which will take in the occasional tarantula. But we’re not sure about that standard across the industry. How many veterinarians actually treat exotic mammals? How many treat snakes? Alligators? And what about those tigers?

Statistics are few and far between. The Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians is a growing group (as of April, it has 761 active members), but we want to know more. How many vets do you know that are trained in exotic mammal medicine, or specialize in reptile medicine?

More importantly, do you know any at all? If a client came to you with a rabbit, what would your advice be? Do any of our vets belong to the AEMV? What kinds of animals do you treat?

We’re looking forward to beginning this discussion with you. We think all vets should know a vet friend for referrals like those described above; perhaps you will meet those friends through this very discussion! Leave us a comment!