Finding An Exotic Animal Vet

It’s not been an easy task finding a doctor for a lizard! Read the story HERE.

“I need a doctor.”

Sadly, there are not many exotic animal veterinarians. So, what constitutes as exotic? Basically, anything considered to be unusual is exotic, these include lizards, snakes, parrots, frogs, sugar gliders, and many more.

I am happy to announce that Lil’ Murph has an appointment on the 8th day of November!

I was referred to a vet last week, but upon visiting their website on 10-12-22 (I learned from our previous experience), I saw they too were curbside care (where they take your animal from you and your vehicle in case you are sick and may kill them). I then called, because sometimes websites aren’t updated. I had to leave a message. In this message, I got to my biggest question, it’s not about cost (I already cancelled two dentist appointments to have all funds I may need for Murph, so we’re good there), it’s “Can I stay with my Beardie throughout the entire visit?” Followed by, “I’ll wear a mask, gloves, I’ll even spritz my entire self with rubbing alcohol. I’ll acquire a hazmat suit.” A kind lady returned my call. I don’t know if she could distinguish through my message that I am entirely serious. She informed me they indeed only allow people inside if their animal is being euthanized (no hazmat suits?). So, nope, that’s not going to work. Our local cat and dog vet lets everyone inside to stay with their animals, and masks are not required. When Murph’s dog brother experienced his mercy killing, our masks would have been filled with tears and snot! I WILL find a place to let me stay with my lizard, my dear friend!

“We’re doing this together.”

When I seek the assistance of a search engine: “Exotic animal veterinarians,” a small amount pop up, followed by typical cat and dog vets. The following day, on 10-13-22, I called a clinic that did not specify who they treated. I asked if they care for lizards there. As expected, they care for only cats and dogs, but the man I spoke to said he thinks a college can help me. He had heard of the animal care there and searched for them on his computer as we spoke – how kind!

I never considered a college for veterinary care! I called them, and guess what! Not only is our not living there not a problem, but people also come from very many states away to bring their pets, AND, I can stay with Murph, AND masks are optional!! On the following day (Friday), I called the gentleman that suggested this place so that I may thank him. He sounded genuinely happy to know they will allow me to be with Murph and I do not have to reside there to receive care for him.

A great number of people must travel great distances to visit an exotic animal veterinarian. On top of that, what has been terribly frustrating, is the majority of them will not allow us to remain with our scaly, feathered, or furry friends during check-ups, while receiving painful shots, or having blood drawn for testing! They who choose to operate their clinics this way are not receiving our business!

I think this is a legitimate question: If a person can enter an examination room with an elderly parent or child, why are beloved animals any different?

We are often our pets’ only friends. We are their caretakers. Do we not often liken them to our children, do we not refer to ourselves as Mommy or Daddy (or whatever) when speaking to them? My parents called me “Sissy” when speaking to their cats about me! “Are you going to let Sissy hold you?” … and things like that. I was their human sister, and we were family. Some people love their animals more than anyone else, which may not be common, but it definitely happens. Why do most people allow these clinics to decide for us that we cannot stay with our pets when we feel it’s necessary?

Are animals seen as property rather than sentient beings? If vets lost their non-emergency business due to intolerance on the public’s part, I think they would give the people what they want! But they don’t have to, they are all booked weeks and months in advance!

Sometimes, people may not have a choice, maybe they are not capable of traveling further and further to clinics that will allow them to stay with their pets. Still, others who can help to change these behaviors, do not, rather, they choose to go along to get along. It’s true that our animals will likely overcome any trauma after they are home for a while, but that is not the point.

It is my opinion that if we pay for services, we have some degree of entitlement to the level/quality of services we seek. Reasonable expectations are fair, and I expect to stay with my pet. I do not believe this to be an unreasonable request or expectation.

What I’ve learned: 1) When searching for a veterinarian, call AND visit their homepage. 2) Consider taking your pet to a college, but again, visit the site AND call, because sometimes the website states you are to live within that county or state, but that may not be so. 3) Finally, some people are so kind, others are awful. Some float in between, and others are kind, but make no sense (many highly educated, helpful, and life-saving vets included).

Murph loves to climb to and from this sunken room, but he had some difficulty today.

Murph is entirely sentient, he has emotions that show physically! If you can spot the quick shot of Murph’s chin, you’ll see his “beard” is blackened. It’s because he us upset! The boy wants what he wants, knows what he wants, and is upset when he knows there’s no justifiable reason why he isn’t experiencing it!

He isn’t happy because we entered through the door of that room that leads outdoors. Murph was so happy outside! I don’t know if he would have headed back to the door or put his nose in the corner to pout. He was already unhappy, when he didn’t maneuver these steps well. If he doesn’t succeed in climbing up and down steps all by himself, he will pout. He wants to be self-reliant (except that he only eats if I hand-feed him). For his morale, I assure him that he’s done it by himself many times, that he is a big boy, my little lizard man.

…yeah, after his little oopsy, I took him outside again.

“Just relax and kick your legs up, Murph.”

“Give me Lizardry or give me Death! – Dawn Renée

22 comments

  1. I’m with you 100%. The animals are much calmer and less terrified if we can be with them. It’s cruel to make them go alone. When one of my cats was having an echo, years ago, I was right by his face, talking to him and I moved farther down and the vet said go back where you were, because when Munch couldn’t see me his heart beat increased…fear. My iguana need a vet and fortunately, my vet was able to care for him. You certainly did the right thing and I’m happy that you and Murph will get this all straightened out. ❤

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  2. Thank you, h&r, so much. Poor Munch. I’m so glad he didn’t experience that without your love and comforting him. What is your Iguana’s name? I only recently learned you have the pleasure.
    I’ll let you know what the vet says.

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  3. I’m happy to hear you finally got an appointment where you can stay with Murph. COVID has been a boon for bad service. Exotic animal vets have never been a problem here. 50 years ago it was. The vet at our local zoo treated one of my boa constrictors, but for the last 35 years I have had easy access to vets for my snakes and lizards. Twenty years ago when I got a baby blood python, she was sick and half starved. It was amazing what I had to do to that poor snake to bring her around. She lived 15 years after three months of a lot of daily treatments to bring her back to health. Fifteen years is a normal life expectancy for a blood, but given our animals tend to live years beyond their “normal” life expectancy, the bad condition she was in when I got her probably shortened her life span. She had a really bad respiratory infection when I got her. She wheezed all her life after that, so her lungs were obvious compromised from the respiratory infection. Fortunately, Blue has never had to go to the vet in her 22 years. My vet did meet Blue once when she made a house. My vet was very excited to meet a really big, healthy boa. Vets don’t always get to see healthy animals.

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  4. Maybe bad service is “the new normal.” Wow, good to have a zoo vet around then! That is interesting, that the exotics have become such the common pet there that you have no troubles with it, and very good, because this stuff stinks.
    Your Blood, oh my gosh, that poor baby. You, with the doctor’s knowledge, gave her life! You were not going to give up. Snakes are so worth this amount of love and appreciation. They have personalities, are beautiful, and want to live. She was a fighter who was fought for.
    I am envisioning her wheezing, and that would be so heart wrenching. Her mood seemed fine after the 3 months, and despite her wheezing, she must not have been in pain or obvious discomfort, I am assuming. Oh Blue, she’s so beautiful! And, with her mom and dad, I hope she sees her 40th+! She’ll need a wee hat. I bet Blue was a treat for the vet to see! I never thought on it before your mentioning.

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  5. Whew! I didn’t intend on being dramatic, but all of Murph’s adoring public : ) may want to know what’s up. The more I typed, the more re-miffed I became. It then became a matter of sharing everything in case it could help a reader (and their beloved). So, yeah, thanks!

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  6. Hi, Dawn.
    The Bible clearly speaks to human cruelty to animals and God shows care for ALL His creation, even mentioning cattle in protective instructions (Deuteronomy 25:5) and including the cattle’s firstborn to be equivalent to the firstborn of the Israelites as dedicated to Yahweh. AND the cattle are used for sacrifice as a substitute for the people of Israel. So there is this dichotomy in Scripture that recognizes animals as Father’s creation and needing our care, but yet not equal in value as a human being.
    This distinction is important as society moves away from Biblical-grounded morality into areas of historically immoral behavior. Soon bestiality will be condoned by those who equate sentient animals with human life.
    Love Murph and take good care of him, but recognize he is not human.
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

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  7. I appreciate that view, for this would have been simpler had I approached the situation in this manner – as his being a lesser form. I recognize his inhumanity. However, this doesn’t undermine how fondly we know one another. Perhaps it’s my age, a growing stubbornness, but I, we all, have accepted things and treatment we never wanted, settled ourselves into undesirable situations, or perhaps this is an old rebellious streak, But, there are times when people, for various reasons, put their foot down and say, “No, I don’t want it like this, I am paying, be reasonable, and earn my hard-acquired earnings with ultimate understanding.” I want to be with my animal, and he me. I have questioned myself through all this, is it worth the fight. But, I did succeed, and am grateful. If Murph were in serious, immediate trouble, of course I would have given in to save him. But, I didn’t have to cave, so I chose not to.
    Thank you, friend.

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  8. I’m so glad that Murph gets to go to college and you can stay with him!! I didn’t know this was a thing with facilities not letting you stay with your baby. I’m appalled at that thought. And, so glad that you found a solution!! 😊💖😊 Kisses to Murph!

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  9. Thank you so much. Some people think I’m making a big deal of it, but I want to stay with him, and he will not like being with people he doesn’t know doing things he doesn’t want. That alone, I suppose, makes me feel justified in the quest.
    I always kiss and hug Murph for others when requested, and tell him who it’s from, whether he comprehends any of it besides lovins, I don’t know, but that’s okay. : )

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  10. good to read you’ve finally found a place where you can be with Murph and masks are optional! The world seems to be crazy forever and people are still trapped in this f** covid thing. What a thing with giving the pet away at the vet!? I think the same like you.
    Here in Germany we have sometimes vets who make visits at home. But with exotic animals I don’t know. give Murph a hug. 🙂 good luck with the appointment.

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