Do you take your animals to the vet?

I don’t necessarily mean for a stuck spec on a ball python or stuck shed on a king snake. These are all some pretty obvious ailments that are generally easy to fix after some experience. If you’ve had to take an animal to a vet for one of these types of problems please don’t think I’m trivializing your efforts: great job on finding the help your animal needed! :slight_smile:

One example of a less common reason I’ve had to seek out a vet was for a cloudy eye on an aging ball python (turned out the poor old girl was developing a cataract). I needed some help confirming and getting eggs out of a rescued beardie once, too.

I’ve also had some terrible experiences: a $200 bill for a vet to use tongs to look at a Savannah’s vent and tell me they were fine. Another vet trying to prescribe Baytril injections for a mild stomatitis on a new animal. :frowning:

The vets I have now are $68 per visit, thorough, and excited to see the animals. :slight_smile:

Between some irresponsible advice of “reptiles are cheap,” “failure to thrive is common,” “it’s natural order,” a certain YouTube celebrity buying a Tesla but loudly and publicly claiming exotic pet care is expensive and useless, the “Facebook expert” advice of skipping a vet and shoving more PetSmart junk into an aquarium, and certainly some sub par vets in the past… Do you seek healthcare for your animals?

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I for sure take my reptiles to the vet if they are sick and I can not help them. They are all still young and all have a life expectancy of decades so if they get help they can still live a long life. I don’t want to be responsible for cutting his or her life short because if lack of care. Till now I only did it once with our bearded dragon. He stopped eating in august (2018) and as a new bearded dragon owner ( I bought him when he was allready one year old) I was really worried. Thought he maybe had parasites. Nothing was wrong. He just decided that after a long very hot summer a temperature drop of 15 degrees celcius must be a sign of winter. I felt quite stupid but was happy he was healthy. Last year he stopped eating in september and decided that in december winter was finished. Crazy lizard :grin:. When our baby ball python got mites I called the vet because I was scared that all the treatment would be to strong for a baby, but the advise through telephone was enough to handle the problem.

To be honest, to me it does depend on the live-expectancy and the type of the animal. I don’t know if I would take a fish or a pet mouse or even a hamster to the vet. Maybe if I really see it suffer but I don’t think I would spend a fortune on vet bill’s. I know people are maybe going to hate me for it but to be honest, if they find like cancer in one of my 11 and 13 years old dogs I also don’t know how far I would go in treatment. Of course I will take them to the vet and do everything that will make their life better, but I don’t think I would put them through extensive surgery or even chemo therapy to get a few months or maybe a year extra. I know people who decide that they don’t want to go through that ordeal themselfs, so I’ll not put my animal through that considering their age an knowing they don’t understand what is happening to them. But I will go to the vet to relieve the pain.

My dogs and reptiles yes, I will take them, I don’t have other animal but if I would, I can not promise I take every type of animal to the vet.


Definitely yes for me, and as early as possible for anything that’s not immediately identifiable or immediately responding to a home care remedy. The longer you wait and allow symptoms to progress or possibly risk spread of something contagious, then it’s only going to get harder, more costly, and more painful for the animals to get everything fixed up.

If you own any animal, it’s good advice to start saving up a vet fund for when, not if, your pet gets sick. No matter how perfect your husbandry and care is eventually you will have to take a sick animal to the vet. Just like no matter how well you take care of yourself, you’ll eventually find yourself needing to go see a doctor. Best to be prepared for when that day comes.


I don’t have any sort of plan like I do with my dog, where I take her once a month for a check up, but when I buy a animal, whether it be a reptile or mammal, I have it checked over for visual signs of illness and I’m always prepared to pay for emergency situations. Whether that means digging into saving or even taking a loan, if I have to work a few extra hours so be it.
No matter what, if I have a problem I believe is beyond my own grasp (even if I know you guys could help) I’m getting a vet involved, no luxuries for a while is worth my pets life.

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The only time I’d take one of my snakes to the vet is if there was something seriously wrong.

I unfortunately had a snake pass away because I didn’t take her to the vet, but I was still fairly new to snakes and thought maybe it was just her being a typical ball python. Now that I look back on it, she could have had parasites or some other internal issue. Don’t buy pet store snakes, that’s for sure!

I did take my girl Butters to a few vets, first for a minor case of mouth rot, then later what turned out to be a jaw abscess with no abnormal bacteria.
I still think it was because she smacked her jaw into the side of the tub going after a rat, while the vet very snootily tried to tell me it was probably because she got bit by the live rat I fed her. That specific rat actually bit me :joy:

One thing for sure: make sure you go to a PROPER exotics vet that specializes in your species. I wasted a few hundred dollars at a local one who wouldn’t listen to my suspicions about it being an abscess. They just told me it was “scar tissue” and sent me home with all kinds of antibiotics and pain medications for her.

I’m so happy Butters is such a tolerating snake, we poked and prodded at her a lot. She went off food a couple times too, but is somehow getting heavier :joy: went from 2600 to around 2850 grams just in the past month! I’m only feeding her one small rat a week. Could also be follicle development? She’s been locking with one of my males, so who knows :woman_shrugging:t3:

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All these replies are great!

Definitely. It’s a struggle for judgment. On a sad note I once took an adult pet rat in and paid for a complete series of surgeries on his face and chest to remove tumors. I often wonder if that didn’t just increase his suffering overall. :sob:


Definitely. This is also a struggle with less exotic pets. I’ve experienced and heard horror stories about unnecessary surgeries on dogs. I am also very much not a fan of vets that still use Baytril. It isn’t a far stretch to see a human physician over/under treat, as well.

It’s definitely trust but verify.


Is it worth it to do a “one time” fecal analysis Or checkup say about the time my females hit breeding size even if they have no symptoms just to get a solid clean bill of health before starting pairing/breeding cycles since that is obviously quite a stress on their bodies or should that be kept only for animals with symptoms?

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Fecals are cheap ($10, possibly) so I usually just do it but it is unlikely you’ll have any results if you 1) got it from a reputable breeder, 2) definitely didn’t get wc or a snake exposed to wc animals, 3) wash your hands

Vets can also culture for RI and that’s also usually cheap but generally unnecessary if there are no symptoms.

If your vet or one of their assistants breed ball pythons they can be a gold mine for a first time breeder. If not they’ll probably just give you a green light after a visual inspection. You could ask for imaging but that gets expensive and won’t tell you much.

I rarely take ball pythons in but I own a lot more than ball pythons. :slight_smile:

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I have taken a sick sand boa female we got to the vet (though despite efforts to save her she ended up passing). Generally I do in house treatments for most common things like stuck shed, mites, ect. But would take them if they had a cold, infection, mouth rot, ect. That I wouldn’t feel comfortable with treating myself. Sudden extreme weight loss, going off food for a long period, are other reasons I’d do a vet visit.

Now when it comes to sheds if they were consistently not shedding eye caps I’d take them to the vet to get the stuck caps removed. I also would take them if the stuck shed was somehow impeding normal behavior or was cutting circulation (corns can and do have trouble shedding the last few mm of their tails sometimes).

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