Confidence of veterinary surgeons in the United Kingdom in treating and diagnosing exotic pet species

Alison Wills, Susan Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Background: With exotic pet species commonplace in the United Kingdom, owners are increasingly seeking veterinary advice regarding the health and welfare of their small mammals and reptiles. This study aimed to assess the confidence of veterinarians in the UK in treating and diagnosing rabbits, guinea pigs, small mammals and reptiles. Methods: A forty-one question survey was promoted via social media, including on interest groups focussed specifically at veterinary professionals. A total of n = 131 practicing veterinarians in the United Kingdom completed the questionnaire. Results: There was a significant effect (p<0.01) of frequency of presentation of exotic pets to a practice on the confidence of the veterinarian in treating them. Veterinarians that were presented with exotics more frequently had increased self-reported knowledge of their health and disease and were more confident treating, diagnosing and anaesthetising them. Knowledge of and confidence in diagnosing and treating exotic pets was significantly less than for dogs and cats (p<0.001). Veterinarians that had been qualified longer were more confident in treating these species (p<0.01). Conclusions: Increased provision and engagement with CPD may increase veterinary confidence in diagnosing, treating and anaesthetising exotic pet species that are less commonly encountered in practice
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number18
Early online date3 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2020


  • exotics
  • guinea pigs
  • rabbits
  • reptiles
  • rodents
  • veterinary profession


Dive into the research topics of 'Confidence of veterinary surgeons in the United Kingdom in treating and diagnosing exotic pet species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this