The Exotic Companion Mammal Practice category is one of ABVP’s newest, numbering approximately 22 active Diplomates. Most are in private practice and see a variety of species including exotic pets, dogs, and cats. Others are in practices limited to exotics. Diplomates are expected to be skilled in the art and science of medicine and surgery as well as other areas such as preventative and wellness care, husbandry, nutrition, and behavior. Some Exotic Companion Mammal Diplomates are in academia where they teach and perform clinical service and research.
Veterinarians who pursue Exotic Companion Mammal certification work in high-quality practices and have access to the latest equipment, supplies, and medical/surgical procedures. They routinely see interesting, complex cases and are able to work them up and manage them at a high standard. The typical caseload is 10 or more exotic mammal cases per week. Veterinarians who see fewer than this may not be successful in credentialing. The type of cases seen is important as well as the number. By species, the approximate breakdown is 40% rabbits, 40% ferrets, and 20% mice, rats, and other pets.
Certification is challenging but rewarding. Veterinarians must have at least 6 years of full-time, high-quality practice experience with exotic mammals and be able to document a commitment to high-level continuing education. They also must be able to communicate professionally and scientifically by following instructions and preparing written case reports. To pass the comprehensive examination, candidates often spend an average of 1 hour per day studying, reading textbook and journal articles, and taking courses and practice tests. There are online study groups to help with credentials and examination preparation. A Regent is also available to answer questions and provide assistance and feedback.
The Exotic Companion Mammal Practice category is an AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty™.
There are several residency programs available. Some are combined with another exotics RVS. For more information, click here.