VCA South Shore (Weymouth) Animal Hospital

Exotic Animal Medicine

What is Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine?

A growing number of people are caring for small animals that would be considered by many to be non-traditional pets. These pets include:
• Companion birds
• Turtles
• Snakes and lizards
• Rabbits
• Ferrets
• Guinea pigs and chinchillas
• Hedgehogs
• Rats and mice
• Hamsters and gerbils
• Tarantulas and scorpions

Each of these animals has specific housing, dietary and socializing requirements. Each is prone to specific diseases requiring diagnostic tests and treatments that can vary, sometimes significantly, from those needed to treat dogs and cats. Veterinarians who treat these patients have to obtain special training beyond that given in veterinary school, and specialized equipment to meet those needs.

Finding a veterinarian that has the expertise and equipment to diagnose and treat these unique pets can be challenging. There are fewer than 100 residency-trained avian specialists in the world. One of those specialists practices here at the VCA South Shore Animal Hospital. Dr. Amber Lee is uniquely qualified to offer wellness and critical care for avian and exotic pets.

Why should my avian/exotic pet see an avian veterinarian specialist?

Yearly wellness examinations are strongly recommended for all avian and exotic pets. Unlike dogs and cats, avian and exotic pets instinctively hide their symptoms of illness as long as possible. This means that just because they look healthy doesn't mean that they actually are. The yearly wellness examination is an opportunity to review husbandry requirements and to detect possible problems early in an effort to treat health conditions before they become advanced.

Wellness blood screening is another part of the yearly wellness exam that is important and encouraged for all avian and exotic patients, particularly as they age. Blood screening may detect liver and kidney problems much faster than with a physical exam alone, and may also detect specific diseases (such as insulinoma in ferrets) before they start showing symptoms, when these diseases is easiest to treat.

What kinds of health problems can be treated in avian and exotic pets?

We offer state-of-the-art preventative and surgical health care for these exotic pets. Working with other specialty services, veterinarians at the VCA SSAH provide expert care for your avian/exotic pet with advanced diagnostic and treatment services, including:
• Dentistry and endoscopic oral examinations for rabbits and rodents
• Cardiology
• Dermatology
• Orthopedic and soft tissue surgery
• Ophthalmology
• Neurology
• Diagnostic imaging such as digital radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT scan) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
• Laparoscopy in birds
• 24 hour nursing care
• Emergency and critical care for avian/exotic pets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our facility offers a dedicated avian and exotic patient ward with temperature controlled cages and specialized lighting for those that need it, separate from the canine and feline patients. This minimizes the stress of hospitalization and allows us to monitor your pet's condition during the stay.

Veterinarians in Exotic Animal Medicine


General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately or come right in. We are available and have doctors and technicians in the building waiting to help you and your pet 24 hours a day.

As pet parents ourselves, we understand when there is a concern about your pet, waiting can be excruciating. That is why we are here for you 24 hours a day. There is no question, concern, or problem too small so don't hesitate to contact us or come right in!

*Please note that between the hours of 9pm and 7am, our front doors are locked for security. Please ring the door bell and a staff member will come to the door and assist you.