VIP treatment for unusual pets

November 4, 2013

Dr Peter Ricci and Dr James Haberfield with a collection of their unusual patients.

If your snake, lizard or tortoise isn’t feeling up to scratch, have no fear, as the Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital has added new facilities dedicated to unusual and exotic pets.

Murdoch University Veterinary graduates Dr James Haberfield and Dr Peter Ricci are returning to the University to run the new service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8am and 6pm.

Not only are they experienced in making sure our small furry and cold-blooded friends are happy and healthy, but they are enthusiasts themselves.

“My collection comprises well over 100 reptiles, covering approximately 20 species, from large pythons to tiny geckos. I also have a few exotic parrots,” Dr Haberfield said.

“Peter has an even more impressive menagerie than me. He’s kept all types of birds available in WA, from large parrots to most breeds of chickens, and he’s an award-winning Guinea pig breeder.”

Dr Haberfield said he spent a great deal of time at veterinary school learning about exotic pets, supplementing his knowledge by spending time with exotic animal vets across Australia.

“It takes a long time to learn and become confident with the unique requirements unusual animals require, be they reptiles, rabbits, Guinea pigs, ferrets, frogs, rats or mice,” he said.

“You can see a huge range of health problems and diseases, from a parrot eating his owner’s earrings to Guinea pigs with dental problems. Reptiles can be especially challenging to look after, especially due to the amount of misinformation out there.”

Dr Haberfield said the new exotics clinic has been fitted out with a range of specialised equipment, including specialised caging, anaesthesia equipment, micro-surgical tools, endoscopy equipment and a ventilator.

“The adoption of unusual and exotic pets is growing in Australia, especially with houses becoming smaller and people wanting a pet that doesn’t necessarily need a whole backyard to run around in,” he said.

For more information on Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital, its new facilities for exotic and unusual pets and its new CT scanner for horses, go here.

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