How to find an avian vet: getting veterinary care for birds
If you’re one of the increasing number of people who fancy keeping something a little more exotic than a cat, dog or hamster, there’s something important you need to consider: your vet!
While there may be no shortage of expert veterinary practices near you for the more common pets, finding a vet who specialises in the care of birds and other exotic pets can be more of a challenge.
What is an exotic pet?
The term exotic is used to describe all sorts of mammals, birds and reptiles, including:
- Budgies, cockatiels and parrots
- Tortoises, terrapins and turtles
- Geckos, bearded dragons and other lizards
- Snakes such as corn snakes, and other pet snakes
- Spiders, scorpions and other arachnids
- Exotic fish
You want your avian vet to know everything there is to know – but when you think about the vast range of animals that can be kept as pets, that’s a lot to ask! It’s no wonder avian vets and veterinary care for exotic pets can be hard to come by.
But, it’s not all bad news – while most veterinary practices don’t have the knowledge, skills or equipment needed to treat birds and other exotic pets, there are plenty out there who do… and we have some top tips to help you find one.
Top tips for finding an avian vet
You may have to travel to find a vet with the right skills and experience, but it’s vital to be registered with a practice in case your pet bird needs treatment.
Even if they don’t provide care for your pet bird themselves, many vets can recommend a practice that does.
If you don’t manage to find an avian vet this way, the Parrot Society UK has a list of avian vets by county or a quick online search should provide details of avian vets near you. If you need more help, ask in specialist exotic bird forums or breed societies online, or locally.
In the UK, avian vets may have a certificate in exotic animal medicine and surgery - but some may just have lots of experience in dealing with birds and no further qualification beyond a veterinary degree.
Once you’ve found yourself an avian vet or practice that offers care for pet birds, you might want to ask yourself these questions before registering your bird:
- Is the veterinary practice in a convenient location, easy to travel to and close to your home?
- Do the staff have a friendly, caring and professional manner?
- Are they qualified, knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to exotic bird care?
- Do they provide daytime and out-of-hours care?
- Are the surgery and reception area clean and tidy?
- Does the vet explain things in a way that’s easy to understand?
- Is there parking nearby, or good public transport links?