How to Become an Exotic Animal Vet

What does an exotic animal vet do?

While small animal vets specialise in treating dogs, cats, and other pets, and large animal vets specialise in farm animals and horses, exotic animal vets work with non-domestic animals such as zoo animals, wildlife and exotic pets, including reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish.

What qualifications do you need to become an exotic animal vet?

Like all vets, exotic animal vets first need to take a five-year degree in veterinary medicine and register with the RCVS. Getting accepted to these courses usually requires three A grades in relevant A-Levels, which must include Biology.

After qualifying, you’ll need to get a few years of professional experience treating pets under your belt before taking extra qualifications in zoological medicine or wildlife health. You may also need to do a placement with exotic animals and a residency program, like those offered by the European College of Zoological Medicine.

How much do exotic animal vets earn?

As a newly qualified vet working with pets, you’ll earn around £30,000 a year. After you specialise as an exotic animal vet, your income will depend on your experience and where you practise. For example, zoo vets can earn anything from £41,000 to £131,000.

What other roles work with exotic animals?

Almost every role in a traditional vet practice has its equivalent in zoos and other exotic animal care environments. Vet nurses are still needed to assist exotic animal vets, and so are exotic vet and zoo vet technicians.

Becoming an exotic animal vet can be incredibly rewarding, and will give you the opportunity to work with rare and unusual animals most vets will never be able to treat. The variety of animals you’ll work with, and the different places you’ll work, such as in zoos, wildlife sanctuaries and even clinics, you’ll enjoy a constantly changing job where no two days are the same.

If you’d like some expert advice and support in taking your first step towards working with exotic animals, get in touch today and discover how we can help you.

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