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Exotics and unusual pets

Animals we see

Not everyone is satisfied with a cat or a dog as a companion. Instead, they may have chosen some of the other wonderful and fascinating pets available such as rabbits, ferrets, rats, mice, birds and reptiles such as turtles, snakes and lizards. While most of our vets are highly trained to treat cats and dogs, some of these more unusual pets require a little extra attention and for those we have a small team of vets who have an added interest in our rodent, avian and reptile friends. These vets have a wide experience in treating these unusual pets and collectively have had experience ranging from orang-utan sanctuaries in Indonesia, to working at Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Park Zoo.


If you have an exotic or unusual pet which is unwell and needs veterinary attention, please book an appointment in with one of our exotic vets. Due to the unusual, non-standard nature of these pets, consultations are usually 30 minutes. Consultations are in the morning on most weekdays. Please contact us on 03 9328 3021 to check when the next appointment is available.

The size and shape of many of these pets do not lend themselves easily to a normal clinical examination so our vets often rely on other tests to help determine what is wrong. These may include examination of the droppings or blood work.

Information about diet and housing environment is also helpful in determining the contributing factors to your pet’s ill health. It is important that the person who attends the consultation is someone who has the essential and close knowledge about the pet to help us provide the best outcome and treatment for your pet.


Rabbits are susceptible to the rabbit calici virus (RCV) which was tested by the CSIRO as a means of controlling pest rabbits. During field trials on an island in South Australia in 1995, the virus spread to mainland Australia where it posed a threat to domesticated rabbits. The virus can cause death within 48 hours of infection. Fortunately there is a vaccine which will protect pet rabbits from contracting the disease. Rabbit owners should ensure their pet rabbits are vaccinated against RCV.

Ferrets are susceptible to canine distemper virus and if contracted there is no cure and the prognosis is poor. Ferrets may be vaccinated against canine distemper to prevent contraction of this fatal disease.


Depending on the nature of the condition, the vet attending to your unusual pet may book it in for a procedure but will most likely admit it for the procedure in the afternoon or following day. Some of the routine surgery we undertake includes lump removal, desexing and dental work on rabbits.


Like cats and dogs, the exotic and unusual pets benefit greatly from desexing. Our rodent friends such as rabbits can breed like - er - rabbits, so before you know it, you are left with a litter of rabbits or mice or guinea pigs to care for and find homes for. Overcrowding with too many animals can also increase risk of disease and fighting. 

Lort Smith Contact Details