Exotic Animal Medicine: Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish
Whether your pet slithers, glides, hops, crawls, or swims, EAMS is here to help with all of your pet’s needs! We will see snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, fish, tarantulas, and any other of your cold-blooded companions! However, we do not see any venomous animals.
Depending on why your pet came in, and what we find during our physical exam, we may recommend a variety of diagnostic tests and treatments. These are designed to help us with a sound diagnostic plan and to keep your pet safe and well for as long as possible.
Here are some things that we offer for your reptile, amphibian, fish, or invertebrate’s health, and how they help us keep your pet well:
- Caging and lighting recommendations: Depending on what kind of animal you have, we can make recommendations for specialized lighting, heat sources, and enclosure types, that will benefit your pet and help maintain an ideal environment.
- Nutrition counseling: Our patients have lots of special needs, including very particular diets! We can help you find the best diet for your pet that will help them stay healthy and happy.
- Water quality: We can look for certain parameters in your pet’s water that may be causing a problem and advise on how to keep the environment appropriate for the species.
- Fecal analysis: Believe it or not, looking at your pet’s stool gives us a lot of information! We look for the types of bacteria that are in the GI tract, as well as for some parasites.
- Bloodwork: Routine bloodwork usually consists of a complete blood count (CBC) and a biochemistry panel. This gives us a great deal of information about our patients. The CBC allows us to look for signs of infection and inflammation, as well as for anemia. The biochemistry panel allows us to evaluate kidney and liver function, protein levels, muscle damage, and pancreas function.
- Radiographs: We often recommend taking x-rays of our patients. This allows us to see bones, the respiratory system, the heart, the liver, the GI tract, the spleen, the kidneys, and the reproductive tract. We can gather a lot of information about these body systems by examining an x-ray.
- Cultures: We can get samples from your animal for culture, for example from the gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts to help diagnose specific types of bacterial or fungal infections, and which types of antibiotics should be most effective.
Appointment Policy and Resources
The Exotic Animal Medicine Service is available to the general public and welcomes referral cases.
We strive to provide a safe and caring environment for your pet bird, small mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish, or invertebrate. We ask that you arrive with your pet in a carrier; this will help keep them safe from other animals that may be in the lobby, and will help reduce stress. We also ask that you bring a sample of your pet’s diet to your appointment. Upon check-in, you and your pet will be escorted into an exam room where someone will talk with you about your animal’s lifestyle, diet, and current and previous medical concerns.
The Exotic Animal Medicine Service at NC State University does not accept wildlife of any kind. The NCSU Turtle Rescue Team can be contacted regarding the rescue and rehabilitation of wild reptiles and amphibians. If you have found a wild animal that you believe is injured or orphaned, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator for instructions about safe capture and transport from the organizations listed here:
- CLAWS, Inc., located just outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 919-544-3330, CLAWS, Inc.
- Wildlife Welfare, Inc. (triangle-based group of independent wildlife rehabilitators), 919-619-0776, Wildlife Welfare (website and phone line have useful information)
- Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, NC, 704-875-6521, www.carolinaraptorcenter.org
- Wildlife Rehabilitators of North Carolina, www.ncwildliferehab.org (look up NC rehabilitators by county and species they work with).
- NCSU Turtle Rescue Team (wild turtles, snakes, lizards and amphibians only), 919-982-5923, www.turtlerescueteam.com
Additional resources may also be found at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s website.
Alumni Voice: What Zoological Medicine at the CVM Meant to Me
As chief veterinarian at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, S.C., Shane Boylan (DVM, ’05) treats some of the world’s most amazing marine animals, including sea turtles impacted by oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and loggerheads in need of rehabilitation at the aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center. As a student at the NC