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Locating a Veterinarian- Chris Tabaka, DVM
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Upon acquiring a new turtle or tortoise, it is extremely important to visit a reptile veterinarian- this is especially important for wild caught animals, but I would highly recommend it for all new animals coming into a collection. Establishing a working relationship with your veterinarian so s/he knows your animal firsthand as well as basic medical information such as a thorough physical examination, a direct fecal examination and a fecal flotation examination, urine examination for crystals and parasites, and an accurate weight are a great way to ensure that your pet is healthy. Since not all parasites show up in all fecal tests, a second and third fecal should also be run. Depending on the species and the condition of the animal(s), such procedures as cloacal cultures, nasal/tracheal cultures, bloodwork, and radiographs may also be performed.
While many veterinarians can help you, it is always preferable to have a consistent regular veterinarian that you use; one familiar with your "type" of animal and one with whom you can establish a client-patient-veterinarian relationship. If you live in an area which does not have an experienced reptile vet, ask around and find a vet who is willing to not only work with you and your animal(s) but who is also willing to contact a colleague who is more experienced with your particular species. After all, unlike medical doctors, veterinarians have to work on more than one species, in numerous specialties, and there is a LOT to know.
The following links should help you to find a vet close to you that is familiar with reptiles. These links have been intentionally created in such a manner that clicking on them will open them into a new window. Please remember to close the window to return to this page.
Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection- Herp Veterinarians - This is a large list of reptile veterinarians from throughout the world hosted on Melissa Kaplan's site. Also included in this are articles on choosing and consulting a vet.
The Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) The ARAV promotes conservation and humane treatment of all reptilian and amphibian species through education, captive breeding and reptilian and amphibian habitat preservation. The Online ARAV membership directory is divided by region. Since the vast majority of members are from the USA, there is a list for each state. Otherwise, members are grouped by country or geographical region.
Herp Vet Connection - This is a large list of reptile veterinarians compiled and maintained by visitors to the site. There are also links to Japanese and Australian veterinarian listings at this location.
Canadian Reptile Veterinarian Listings - These listings are hosted on Tricia Powers huge herp site.
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