The lists of most popular pets in the UK are dominated by cats, dogs and rabbits, but those are not the only pets people feel passionately about! They might be fewer in number, but birds, lizards, snakes and exotic fish all have keen owners and you’d be in good company if you chose a pet from the ranks of the more exotic animals.
As well as rewarding, it can also be challenging, not least because if you’re worried about the health of an exotic pet it can be harder to find the help you need. Today we’re taking a look at how you can address those worries and make sure you’re giving your pet the best possible care.
Finding a Vet
Finding a vet for a cat or dog is relatively easy: you can just search for local vets, check reviews and recommendations from friends and make sure it would be easy to get to for you.
Vets for exotic or unusual pets are a little thinner on the ground, and you might find that local surgeries don’t cater to your needs, as fewer vets in training study the specialisations necessary for them to practice on birds, fish, lizards and so on.
Many specialist vets belong to professional associations that make finding them easier, so your best bet might be to start with, for example, the Fish Vet Society and check their list of registered vets to find someone close enough to visit when your fish is showing concerning symptoms.
It’s also worth looking into internet services. While they can’t administer vaccinations or take blood samples, talking to a vet online can get you expert advice, an initial diagnosis and even a referral to a physical vet if necessary, without you needing to leave your home!
Sometimes you don’t need medical help, but advice is always welcome. Simply being able to check if your pet’s behaviour is normal, share your worries and talk with experienced owners is the best kind of help. While a dog walker can find as many opinions as they need in the nearest park, caring for a parrot is less innately social, so it’s harder to connect with your fellow owners.
Fortunately, online communities can provide exactly this kind of discussion, advice and support. From official groups that support owners and breeders, like the UK Parrot Society to informal spaces like Facebook pages and forums, you’ll have lots of chances to connect to fellow owners and you and your pet can benefit from their experience.