Reptile vet experience

what kind of experience do you all have with reptile vets? do you use a vet that specifically sees reptiles, or sees other more “common” animals as well? do you think there is a difference between the care/advice you’d get from a reptile specific vet vs a vet who doesn’t see reptiles more frequently?

sorry if this comes off as worded weird…i’m really tired but this has been something on my mind the past few days

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Under no circumstances should you ever take your reptile to a vet that does not specialize in reptiles. They don’t know what they are doing and can do more harm than good. I’ve heard cat & dog vets say extremely inaccurate things, give bad advice, mis-diagnose and prescribe ineffective or even harmful treatments. Some dog and cat vets won’t treat reptiles because they know they don’t have the expertise, others have the hubris to attempt to treat animals they can’t even identify. Find a qualified reptile vet.


I cant agree more. My uncle is the only other person than myself in my family that keeps reptiles to the same degree I do but he keeps horses and farm animals as well (this is important later on). Well one day his beloved boa of many years got some sort of parasite/infection and what did the vet who doesn’t specialize in reptiles do? The vet prescribes a insanely powerful dose of antibiotic normally meant for large animals like cattle. Less than a few hours later the boa died. Moral of the story is to go to a vet that specializes in your type of animal. its sad but sometimes it takes a horrible lesson like what my uncle went through to learn better.


I live in a very “livestock” oriented area too, so we have the same sort of situation here. this entire question came about because I adoped my newest leo from the humane society and they made me see a specific vet for a wellness check. not the vet I usually use, but a vet nonetheless. I talked with the vet for about 45 minutes during the exam, and was basically told that his humidity needs to be in the 80s in the entirety of his enclosure, and that I need to start taking all my reptiles outside to eat wild bugs because the care we provide in captivity isn’t enough to keep them happy. both of those statements made me uneasy, because I was taught the opposite for both of those scenarios. needless to say, I left the vets office with a care packet on “how to take proper care of leopard geckos” and a sense of confusion


I have had similar bad experiences with both exotic vets I have tried. They advertised themselves as exotic/reptile vets but based on how little they knew about ball pythons (you know, the most common species of pet snake) I have to wonder how they got qualified. The second vet I tried was concerned because he didn’t know what a snake going into shed looked like. And that was an improvement from the first vet. Needless to say, I’m still on the hunt for a good reptile vet.


I am a dog/cat vet. Take your reptiles to boarded specialists. (Either by ACZM or ABVP in reptile/amphibian.)


ABVP search. select reptile/amphibian

Another resource for finding herp vets.

Because of my inherent bias, I’ll refrain from commenting any further.


I went to a board certified reptile vet. Recommended by many many many reptile people. I’ve been to him before for snakes and was pleased with his knowledge. That being said I took in a recently rescued tegu for an URI(came today me with it) and he noticed the back part of her tail was “dead” and wanted me to schedule an amputation. It was a regrown/regenerated tail… Not dead just grew back solid black. I adore this vet for snake stuff and was highly disappointed. When I told him that it was regenerated he didn’t know that they could regrow tails. So it can definitely be hard to find a good reptile vet. Especially if you are new and unable to tell when they don’t know their stuff.


I think it’s important to understand that it’s kind of impossible for a single vet to be an expert in every species of reptile. Even small animal vets who see dogs and cats can be totally unfamiliar with certain breeds and best practices for common issues in those specific breeds.
The key for me, is to find a vet who will work with you and isn’t too proud or too much of a jerk to phone a friend for advice, or to simply listen to you. Build rapport with your vet. If you tell your vet that you know it’s a common practice to treat a specific illness with X medication at X dosage - a vet that you have built a good relationship with may very well go with it. Of course don’t be upset if they want to make a phone call first.
Twenty years ago when I was active in the breed club for my dogs, I worked with “our vet” who literally wrote the book on our breed. We put together a pamphlet for folks to give to their vets whenever they came in with a new puppy. It went over breed specific issues, medications to use, treatments that worked and why the traditional treatment that they might like to impose wouldn’t work. It was incredibly helpful and well received!
Maybe that’s something worth looking into for various reptile species?


I think something like that would be great.

The only board certified exotic vet we have in Indiana is in Indianapolis, which is a 2.5 hour drive for me. Not very great considering my fiancé works nights during the week and it’s pretty much impossible to get days off.

We have a couple vets that work with exotic animals that are more local, but they don’t quite seem to know what they’re talking about nor do they listen to me. They’ve also treated me like I didn’t know jack about my ball pythons.

My poor girl Butters still has her abscess, even though it was removed by the vet in Indianapolis I guess they didn’t get all of it so it came back. Though they did test it for microbes and didn’t find anything unusual, so it’s not infectious.
I’m not sure if it’s something I should take her in for again or just let it be.
It doesn’t seem to bother her in any way, as she still hits food hard and drinks normally, but she just looks weird with her jaw looking almost the same thickness as her head.

How far are you from Louisville? We have an Exotic Vet here.

Louisville is about 1.5 hours from me. Not as bad but still a bit of a trip haha… I actually looked it up again and since we moved to a different town the vet we went to in Indy is actually almost 3 hours away now :rofl:

Good lord! Well at least you know in a pinch, you have one an hour and a half away. :laughing: