Should you start seeing ZooMed (exotic) patients?

What is ZooMed (a.k.a. exotic animals medicine)? It is the branch of medicine that treats nontraditional pets, such as rabbits, rodents, birds, reptiles, and much more!I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again that ZooMed isn’t a viable career path. It’s said that there aren’t many people who have ZooMed pets, and the ones who do, won’t pay for quality veterinary care. But is it really true? (spoiler alert: it isn’t!) According to the 2017-2018 edition of AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, more than 16% of U.S. households own an exotic pet, compared to 38% dogs and 25% cats. This means 135,672,770 exotic pets (not including fish!) and an increase compared with 2016 numbers. That means yes! There are patients. Rabbits are actuallty the third most common pet, behind only dogs and cats.

Below are the results of a survey of almost 1,000 rabbit owners. 

  • Most of them spent up to $500/year on veterinary services!
  • For comparison, dog owners spend an average of $537/year, while cat owners spend an average $558/year.
  • Additionally, 13% of dog owners spent over $1000/year, while 12.8% of rabbit owners spent over $1000/year.
  • Clearly there are parallels between these groups! So there’s no reason to say owners of exotic pets wouldn’t pay for your service.

Featured Expert: Laila Proença, MV, DVM, MS, PhD, DACZMA

Laila Proença – MV, DVM, MS, PhD, DACZMA native of Brasília, Brazil, Dr. Proença is the founder and CEO of VETAHEAD! Dr. Proença has always been passionate about veterinary medicine. She is the first South American to become a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine (DACZM), with an emphasis on zoological companion animals (a.k.a. exotics). In Brazil, she owned her own private practice exclusive to zoological companion animals.Dr. Proença did her Zoological Medicine residency at the University of Georgia, where she developed a special interest for ZooMed endoscopy and minimally invasive techniques, collaborating to produce several publications including novel techniques in endosurgery. She is the co-editor of the 2015 Exotic Endoscopy issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America. Dr. Proença has been actively participating in the zoological medicine community, teaching many national and international lectures, courses, masterclasses and wet labs, including endoscopy courses.

Members can get Laila’s Rabbit course FREE! This online course will provide an intensive lecture on a wide array of medicine, surgery, commonly performed techniques and procedures in rabbits.

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