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Tips For Finding The Right Veterinarian For Your Small Animal Pet

Owners of hamsters, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other small exotic pets need to find a veterinarian knowledgeable in treating their species of pet.

By Kevin Wright, DVM, DABVP
Posted: July 12, 2012, 9 a.m. EDT

ferret lying
Ferret Sweetie© Courtesy Stefany Carroll
Try asking local animal shelters for recommendations of veterinarians who regularly treat your species of pet.

Not every veterinarian understands the veterinary care of small mammals. You need to do a lot of research in order to find the veterinarian who is right for you and your pet. The Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians’ website may help you locate a vet within reasonable driving distance while the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners’ website may help you locate a certified specialist in small mammals.

Just because someone is listed on either site doesn’t mean he or she is the right veterinarian for you. Use these tips to help you find the perfect veterinarian.
  1. Call different local veterinarians as well as ones that practice in other towns and ask who they recommend when they encounter a difficult case with your kind of pet.
  2. Ask pet store personnel and operators of shelters for your animal’s species who they recommend. 
  3. Read online reviews. If something in a review is troubling about a veterinarian you’d otherwise visit, call and ask the hospital about the bothersome review. 
  4. Look at the back of magazines for veterinary listings or consult the vet directory listing at 
  5. Feel free to ask questions about the practice when you call to schedule an appointment. For example, how many rabbits (or whatever pet you have) does the veterinarian see over the course of a week? 
  6. If you are not comfortable with a veterinarian on the day of your visit, feel free to discuss your concerns with the doctor. 
  7. If you still are uncertain about whether this is the right veterinarian for your pet, seek a second opinion.

Like this article? Be sure to check out:
Ferret Health Info, click here>>
Rabbit Health Info, click here>>
Guinea Pig Health Info, click here>>
Hamster Health Info, click here>>

Posted: July 12, 2012, 9 a.m. EDT

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Reader Comments
I think Kevin left off a very important point. Is this Veterinarian up to date on the latest treatment for ferret medical issues, e.i. Deslorelin Implants for Adrenal disease. Does this vet belong to and participate in a vet chat room or mailing list which addresses these issues.
Katherine Carr, KCFerretHotline, Roeland Park, KS
Posted: 1/24/2013 11:13:27 AM
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