Ferreting out unusual pets
DID you hear the one about the snake that swallowed the shoe or the axolotl that has not been eating at all?
While they might sound like setups to a punch-line, they are in fact situations the team at The Unusual Pet Vets encounter on a regular basis.
Nicole Su said the exotics-only practice based at Murdoch University saw a wide variety of animals, from snakes, bunnies and ferrets to bearded dragons, frogs and even backyard chickens.
But not your traditional cats and dogs.
Dr Su, who has worked at the clinic for four years, said the majority of animals attended to were family pets, although they also cared for wildlife.
“Every species is very different, so for example the medications you can use, the procedures that you can do, the anatomy – everything is wildly different sometimes from consultation to consultation,” she said.
“You might be looking at a giant 6kg rabbit for half an hour, then next thing you get to look at a little axolotl that’s not been eating so well, so it can vary a lot.”
She said there was a fresh story to tell every day.
“You might have heard of the snake that swallowed a shoe… so we do see that all the time – not shoes but sometimes rocks and other silly things,” she said.
“Today I removed a growth on a little pigeon’s eye and stitched up a wound.
“A while ago I did have a tiger snake with a uterine infection, so it’s kind of a bit all over the place.”
She said the role offered her the chance to come face to face with some of the rarest animals in WA, including “an interesting mutation of a death adder”.
“That’s definitely not one I’ve seen before. There’s reptiles brought in to WA and we sometimes get the first look at them as well,” she said.
“That’s pretty special. You definitely get a big kick out of it.”
Dr Nicole Su with a ferret at The Unusual Pet Vets.