The vast majority of small animal training in veterinary school is devoted to canine and feline medicine. If veterinarians want to treat birds or ferrets or snakes, they will 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 on the latest advancements in exotic pet care.
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.
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.
Florida has more than just sunshine - it also has quite an extensive list of exotics vets. So, if a Florida exotics vet is what you are looking for, check out this list. Not all Florida exotics vets see all exotic pets so be sure you call the clinic of your choosing 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 Florida
Is there a reptile veterinarian in the area? Don’t all vets see gerbils? Here's a list of veterinarians in Florida who treat exotic pets.
- Aloha Pet and Bird Hospital, 968 E Eau Gallie Blvd., Indian Harbour Beach, 321-777-6444
- Dr. Alfonso, Kirkman Area Animal Clinic, 5633 Metrowes, Orlando, 407-295-7547
- Dr. Arun, Summit Boulevard Animal Hospital, 4444 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, 561-439-7900
- Dr. Bacl, Midway Animal Hospital, 4090 N. LIttle Hawk Pt., Crystal River, 904-795-7110
- Dr. Becker, Safe Haven Veterinary Hospital, 30 Lupi Ct., Palm Coast, 386-446-9099
- Dr. Billiar, All Pets Clinic, 1741 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, 352-351-3588
- Dr. Bogoslavsky, Animal Veterinary Hospital of Orlando, 1320 West Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, 407-855-7387
- Dr. Bramson, All Animal Clinic, 5450 MacDonald Ave, Suite #13, Stock Island, 305-294-5255
- Dr. Brumfield, Dr. Cavell, Northwood Animal Hospital, 1881 North Martin Luther King # J, Tallahassee, 850-385-8181
- Dr. Brush, Livingston Animal & Avian Hospital, 15104 Livingston Avenue, Lutz, 813-979-1955
- Dr. Case, Clinic For Animals, 5462 North University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, 954-749-0551
- Dr. Caspermeyer, A Pet House Call Mobile Vet, Greater Orlando area, 407-352-4220
- Dr. Cottrell, West End Animal Hospital, 15318 W. Newberry Road, Newberry, 352-472-7626
- Dr. Diaz-Figueroa, Lake Howell Animal Clinic, 856 Lake Howell Road, Maitland, 407-628-8000
- Dr. Douglas, Jaffe Animal Clinic, 950 N. Dixie Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-395-4030
- Dr. Earle, Coastal Animal Hospital Wellness Center, 545 Gus Hipp Blvd., Rockledge, 321-632-3800
- Dr. Eisel, Animalife Veterinary Center, 2171 Pine Ridge Road, Suite B, Naples, 239-513-1777
- Dr. Engle, Wiles Road Animal Hospital, 8008 Wiles Rd., Coral Springs, 305-752-1879
- Dr. Forgey, Dr. McKerley, Safe Harbor Animal Hospital, 820 Creighton Road, Pensacola, 850-476-5571
- Dr. Fortune, Dr. Whiteside, The Niceville Animal Clinic, 509 E. John C. Sims Parkway, Niceville, 850-678-2002
- Dr. Gauvin, All Creatures Family Pet Center, 5027 NW 34 St., Gainesville, 352-335-0041
- Dr. Gedeon, Marcum Road Animal Hospital, 131 Marcum Road, Lakeland, 863-858-1718
- Dr. Geiler, Eastside Veterinary Hospital, 731A E. Highway 50, Clermont, 352-394-6624
- Dr. Goldsmith, Dadeland Animal Hospital,9495 Old S. Dixie Highway, Miami, 305-670-4401
- Dr. Grant, Dr. Harris, Dr. Kramer, Avian and Exotic Medical Center, 12125 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami, 305-234-2473
- Dr. Griffin, VCA St Petersburg Animal Hospital, 3295 62nd Ave. North, Saint Petersburg, 727-527-5803
- Dr.'s Stephen and Christine Grigsby, Harbor City Animal Hospital, 7670 North Wickham Road Suite B, Melbourne, 321-757-7381
- Dr. Guttery, Cocoa Veterinary Hospital, 2325 State Road 524, Cocoa, 321-636-2230
- Dr. Hart, Hidden Hills Animal Hospital, 12130 Fort Caroline Road, Jacksonville, 904-641-3384
- Dr. Hall, Homosassa Animal & Bird Hospital, 8177 W. Grover Cleveland Blvd., Homosassa, 352-628-4200
- Dr. Hayworth, McAbee Veterinary Hospital, 7206 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-671-5858
- Dr. Hess, Dr. Lorch, Dr. Newman, Winter Park Veterinary Clinic, 1601 Lee Road, Winter Park, 407-644-2676
- Dr. Hughes, Hughes All Creatures Animal Clinic, 3438 East Lake Road Suite 11, Palm Harbor, 727-785-0405
- Dr. Huff, Coral Vet Clinic, 9540 Cypress Lake Dr., Ft. Myers, 239-768-3548
- Dr. Jackson, East Orlando Animal Hospital, 7600 Lake Underhill Drive, Orlando, 407-277-3547
- Dr. Johnston, Native Palm Animal Hospital, 10076 W Indiantown Rd., Jupiter, 561-747-9991
- Dr. Jourdenais, Geneva Oaks Animal Hospital, 4193 North County Road 426, Geneva, 407-349-9536
- Dr. Kaplan-Stein, Oaks Veterinary Hospital, 229 NW 75th St., Gainesville, 352-332-7387
- Dr. Kelleher, Dr. Grant, Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, 1730 University Drive, Coral Springs, 954-753-2390
- Dr. Klarsfeld, Hometown Animal Hospital, 17100 Royal Palm Blvd., Weston, 954-349-5800
- Dr. Koester, Indialantic Veterinary Clinic, 307 4th Avenue, Indialantic, 321-724-2277
- Dr. Kordon, Animal Health Oasis, 6720 Lone Oak Blvd., Naples, 239-297-6519
- Dr. Lightfoot, Dr. Bartlett, Avian Animal Hospital of Bardmoor, 11405 Starkey Rd., Largo, 727-398-1928
- Dr. Love, Lantana Atlantis Animal Hospital, 3530 Lantana Road, Lantana, 561-439-0694
- Dr. Lund, Lund Animal Hospital, Boca Raton, 561-998-5863
- Dr. Lundberg, Argyle Animal Clinic, 6001-2 Argyle Forest Blvd., Jacksonville, 904-771-2781
- Dr. MacCullough, Bay Moorings Animal Hospital, 3695 50th Ave South, Saint Petersburg, 727-867-0118
- Dr. Mader, Marathon Veterinary Hospital, 11187 Overseas Highway, Marathon, 305-743-7099
- Dr. Marusak, All County Animal Hospital, 645 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Brooksville, 352-796-6788
- Dr. McKelvie, Viscaya-Prado Vet Hospital, 920 Country Club Blvd., Cape Coral, 239-574-6171
- Dr. Men, Krome Animal Hospital, 19746 SW 177th Ave., Miami, 305-255-5717
- Dr. Merkle, Polk County Animal Hospital, 7433 US Highway 98 North, Lakeland, 863-858-2252
- Dr. Mettee, Harmony Animal Hospital, 1401 West Indiantown Road, Jupiter, 561-746-5501
- Dr. McCoy, Bayshore Veterinary Clinic, 2043 NE 140th Street, North Miami Beach, 305-940-2287
- Dr. Mocklin, Lake Mary Veterinary Clinic, 2889 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary, 407-322-4060
- Dr. Moentman, Animal Hospital of Largo, 13902 Walsinham Rd., Largo, 727-595-2287
- Dr. Mossler, Bayshore Animal Hospital, 1511 Florida Boulevard, Bradenton, 941-756-5544
- Dr. Nelson, Dr. McKelvie, Viscaya-Prado Vet Hospital, 920 Country Club Blvd., Cape Coral, 941-574-6171
- Dr. Nichols, Coral Veterinary Clinic, 9540 Cypress Lake Drive Fort Myers, 239-481-4746
- Dr. Pane, South Kendall Animal Clinic, 9501 S.W. 160th Street, Miami, 305-238-2030
- Dr. Paredes, VCA Cabrera Animal Hospital, 6390 SW 8th St., West Miami, 305-424-8585
- Dr. Pearson, Magnolia Animal Hospital, 2019 N. Magnolia, Ocala, 914-622-7143
- Dr. Perry, Feline, Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital, 916 Broadway Street (ALT 19), Dunedin, 727-735-0500
- Dr. Porcher, Shores Animal Clinic, 3245 Forest Hill Boulevard, West Palm Beach, 561-964-4488
- Dr. Posey, Promenade Animal Hospital, 9850 Alt. A1A Ste. 507, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-627-8888
- Dr. Randolph, Union Park Animal Hospital, 10640 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, 407-273-6010
- Dr. Readdy, Country Chase Veterinary, 12501 W. Linebaugh Avenue, Tampa, 813-814-1814
- Dr. Rill, University Animal Clinic, 8239 Cooper Creek Blvd., University Park, 941-355-7707
- Dr. Rodrigues, Rodrigues, Midway Animal Hospital, 1635 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, 352-795-7110
- Dr. Rolfe, The Bird and Exotic Hospital, 6147 Lake Worth Road, Greenacres, 561-964-2121
- Dr. Rossi, Riverside Animal Hospital, 2641 Park Street, Jacksonville, 904-388-3494
- Dr. Ruidi, Exotic Animal Clinic, 13102 State Road 80, Fort Myers, 239-694-560
- Dr. Rupp, Pembroke Lakes Animal Hospital, 11210 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-435-8800
- Dr. Sands, Apopka Veterinary Clinic, 132 West Main Street, Apopka, 407-889-3180
- Dr. Sargent, Tropical Park Animal Hospital, 2330 SW 67 Ave., Miami, 305-553-4464
- Dr. Schacht, VCA Tampa Bay Animal Hospital, 8501 La Due Lane, Tampa, 813-933-6609
- Dr. Skaggs, Hillsboro Beach Animal Hospital, 540 South Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, 954-426-1234
- Dr. Stelling, Miami-Area House Calls Only, 305-278-2028
- Dr. Stevenson, Exotic Bird Hospital, 8820 Old Kings Rd. S., Jacksonville, 904-256-0043
- Dr. Swerida, Mobile Vet, Sarasota Area, 941-379-1992
- Dr. Temprano, Summit Blvd. Animal Hospital, 1000B South Military Trail, West Palm Beach, 561-439-7900
- Dr. Teske, Pebble Creek Animal and Bird Hospital, 19440 Bruce B Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-973-8566
- Dr. Thompson, Thompson Animal Hospital, 6615 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, 863-648-4886
- Dr. Tovrea, Emerald Coast Animal Hospital, 350 E. Miracle Strip Parkway, Mary Esther, 850-243-5080
- Dr. Valentine, Valentine Veterinary Services, Boca Raton, 561-290-9995
- Dr. Webster, Tampa Veterinary Hospital, 2517 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-254-3031
- Dr. Weege, Colonial Animal Hospital, 127 S.E. Woolbright Road, Boynton Beach, 561-737-6448
- Dr. Whiteside, Wynn Haven Animal Clinic, 351 Woodland Ave., Mary Esther, 850-581-2213
- Dr. Wissman, Icarus Mobile Vet Service, P.O. Box 7322, Wesley Chapel, 813-973-7032
- Dr. Woodman, Animal Hospital Of Northwood, 701 Enterprise Road East, Safety Harbor, 727-725-1691
- Dr. Zellner, Avian and Animal Hospital, 11405 Starkey Road, Largo, 727-398-1928
For the full list of exotics vets by state click here.