Are Bunnies Exotic Pets? A Vet's Perspective

In the United States, exotic pets are any animals other than cats and dogs. This includes rabbits, birds, ferrets, reptiles, amphibians, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, mice, rats, and more. Recently, a new animal control law was passed in my country that is very strict and has banned many common pets such as rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Most veterinary schools have excellent exotic medicine departments in their university hospitals.

However, the interface between the basic curriculum and exotic medicine has not yet been established. Children may not understand their own strength when it comes to handling bunnies and can cause them distress or physical harm. To address this issue, a petition has been opened to the public and has received support from world-renowned exotic specialists such as Drs. Erin Harrison and others. When considering an exotic pet as a long-term commitment, it is important to note that some of these pets can live longer than cats and dogs.

A number of veterinary schools have already started teaching exotic medicine in their basic curricula with encouraging results. It can be difficult to keep up with all the available information for each species so many general practitioners may recommend you to a veterinarian who has more experience with your particular pet. Dr. Harrison argues that rabbits are so common that they are not considered exotic pets. Exotic species require very special conditions and environments that must be carefully controlled in terms of temperature and humidity.

Unfortunately, there are not enough veterinarians trained to treat exotic species to meet the demand of rabbit owners who may not live close to such a veterinarian. If you own an exotic pet, you should look for a veterinarian who has a special interest in that particular species and who has the right equipment to diagnose and treat it. LagoLearn offers lectures and practical laboratories and has taken the innovative approach of placing rabbits in their own class rather than considering them as part of the exotic species spectrum. There are more and more exotic animals in shelters but many shelters are not prepared to care for them or sterilize or castrate them.

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