Exotic Animal Vet: Responsibilities and Skills

When we think about a veterinarian, we usually have in mind a person who is helping our pets when they are ill or have some kind of problems.

However, we need to have in mind that there are exotic animal veterinarians as well even though the number of them is quite lower than the number of veterinarians providing care to domestic animals.

Nowadays, the world is experiencing a growing interest in exotic animals among young people, thus causing a demand for exotic animal veterinarians.

Exotic animals are no longer limited to rabbits, ferrets, snakes, and hamsters, as people tend to adopt exotic birds and other species that are not traditional pets.

Where do Exotic Animal Vets Work?

In previous years, exotic animals were limited to wildlife or a zoo setting.

Things have changed a lot, as the growing popularity of exotic animals makes them pets and they are more and more frequently found in people’s homes.

This results in exotic animal vets becoming more popular career option,

They need to treat a wide range of exotic mammals, amphibians, and reptiles which also led to more exotic animal hospitals opening up all over the country.

The duties of an exotic animal vet are numerous and they include issuing vaccinations, performing surgery, and providing emergency care when needed.

They need to be familiar with advanced techniques that help to diagnose and treat all kinds of ailments and some of them are: treating ferrets with adrenal gland disease, attending to lizards with bladder stones, remedying rabbits with dental disease and fixing fractures in birds, just to mention a few.

The main urge of each veterinarian is to help the animals in need and the more species they can treat, the greater satisfaction they get.

An exotic animal vet has the chance to treat so many varieties of animals, as he/she might be providing medical care to rodents, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, reptiles, turtles, and lizards.

In this job, sedation is extremely important, so exotic animal vets are well trained in the proper precautionary measures to take when administering medical treatment.

If you are eager to pursue this kind of career, but you are wondering where Exotic Animal Vets work, we are offering some of the possible facilities.

As previously mentioned, you can look for a job in an exotic animal hospital which is common in cities throughout the United States.

It is true that these hospitals treat exotic animals and birds, but the veterinarian is the one who will decide what kind of animals will not be treated.

Venomous reptiles and primates could be turned away if he/she decides so.

Exotic animal veterinarians can work in a wildlife setting and it is worth noting that this does not mean that they will go out into the wild.

Wildlife rescue facilities require the services of exotic animal veterinarians to treat wounded and ailing wild animals.

Zoos are also a very popular workplace for exotic animal vets where they can also treat all kinds of animals.

Last, but nor least, aquariums and wildlife conservations are also some of the places where an exotic animal vet can start a long-term career.

Education Requirements so as to Become an Exotic Animal Vet

Being that this is a very serious career, education requirements to become an Exotic Animal Vet are quite demanding and strict.

Your future education will begin with a Bachelor’s Degree that provides a strong background in the sciences.

Graduates must then begin veterinary college, and what you should expect is a competition for admission that is extremely competitive.

During that admission process, applicants will be asked to provide their prior work experience in a veterinary setting and which proves that they are ready and eager to start their path towards this new career.

The advantage to veterinary colleges will be given to those applicants who have already gotten a good amount of experience working with animals and those applicants who are looking to specialize in treating exotic animals should attempt to find some kind of work-related experience with exotic animals.

If you happen to be accepted into veterinary college, you will need to have a four-year education and attending an exotic veterinary program.

During this program, students will be exposed to the ways of treating exotic animals.

Considering the fact that the number of exotic animal vets is not that great, those who are looking to enter into this field should consider applying to one of those particular veterinary colleges which have teaching hospitals designed to facilitate the educational process.

The curriculum at these veterinary colleges consists of the first three years involving classroom and lab work, while the fourth year is spent doing a clinical rotation.

This means that during their final year students have the chance to actually work on exotic animals in a real veterinary setting.

When the four-year curriculum is finished, graduates earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) which enables them to seek out employment.

It is good to know that they could be required to take on an internship to gain more experience before earning a position as a full-time exotic animal veterinarian.

Salary/Job Outlook

Due to the fact that the number of these professionals is not high, you can expect quite a high salary for your work.

Because of the uniqueness of the profession, exotic animal vets salaries range between $60,000 and $100,000 per year.

Furthermore, the more experienced you are, the higher the salary will be.

Additionally, where you work also factors into the salary as some exotic animal hospitals have clients who are willing to pay higher amounts for treatment of their exotic pets.

On the other hand, if you work in a wildlife conservation center, you may have a lower pay rate as an exotic animal vet.

The most important thing is that job prospects are opening up, and purchasing more exotic pets has upgraded the demand for exotic animal vets, so you should not worry about finding a job upon your graduation.


If you want to get the license, you should know that the licensing procedure for exotic animal vets is the same for other types of veterinarians.

There are specific requirements related to what you need to provide so as to become licensed and Veterinary Boards from each state set the guidelines that need to be met before a license is issued.

One thing is the same – candidates must earn a passing score on a statewide examination.

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