The Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) central London hospital has developed a specialist exotics service to support animals and their owners, referring vets and veterinary education.
The facility at the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital (BSAH) in Camden is the only specialist exotics service in central London and the only full-time exotics service at an English veterinary school.
The hospital, which has seen a steady rise in its exotics caseload over the years, recently appointed specialist Joanna Hedley.
Ms Hedley has worked extensively with a variety of exotic pets, wildlife and zoo species and is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and European veterinary specialist in exotic animals.
Ms Hedley works alongside Nadene Stapleton, who has 14 years of veterinary experience working with exotic pets, and dedicated exotics nurse Abigail Edis RVN.
The RVC exotics service treats a variety of animals, including rabbits and other small mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, ornamental fish and invertebrates.
Services include 40-minute consults to discuss husbandry, diet and health, a waiting area away from cats and dogs and dedicated hospital facilities to separate prey and predator species, making a hospital stay more calm and relaxed.
The BSAH, which received a £1.5m revamp in 2011, has diagnostic equipment that includes digital x-ray, ultrasound and endoscopy. It also has a state-of-the-art dental suite.
However, Ms Hedley said: “Many health problems seen in exotics can be prevented by simple changes in environment or diet and at the BSAH we’re keen to concentrate on preventing health problems in exotic pets and small mammals.”
A rabbit owner evening will take place on May 13 from 7pm to 9pm to coincide with Rabbit Awareness Week. During the evening, the team will discuss rabbit care, including nutrition. This is intended to help owners avoid health problems frequently seen in practice, which can be prevented through an appropriate diet.