Welcome to VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital's Zoological Medicine and Surgery Department
Zoological medicine, or ZooMED, is the branch of veterinary medicine that treats zoological companion animals, also known as exotic pets.
We understand that zoological companion animals (a.k.a. exotics) are unique and delicate. Their anatomy and physiology is vastly different from dogs and cats yet they require the same amount of expertise and care. Our ZooMED Department is prepared to meet their unique needs with specialized equipment as well as the expertise to help diagnose and treat your pet. We have dedicated hospitalization areas and examination rooms to keep your special friend safe and comfortable. Everything about our department was carefully planned to provide you and your unique pet with the utmost compassionate and specialized care.
One might think that zoological companion animals refer to the animals we see in a zoological institution (elephant, giraffe, sea lions, zebras, among others). But the definition is much broader and include all the lovely unique pets you have at home!
Avian, Exotic, Zoological companion animal? I am confused.
You are not alone when it comes to understanding the official name for this group of animals, often referred to as “avian and exotics”, “exotics” or “zoological companion animals”. Different associations and colleges use different names, but for the most part we are referring to the same group of animals. VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital has chosen our department name, “Zoological Medicine and Surgery” because it best reflects the entire scope of the different species we treat.
We are committed to promote the health and wellness of your best friend!
Zoological companion animals is the nomenclature officially used by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). That includes small mammals (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets), birds (parrots, love birds, cockatiels, cockatoos, finches, macaws, toucans, chickens), reptiles (turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes), amphibians (frogs, salamanders, caecilians), fish (fresh and saltwater), and invertebrates (tarantulas, praying mantis, hermit crab).
Is zoological medicine and surgery the same as avian and exotics?
Yes. These two service names are interchangeable.
What animals does the Zoological Medicine and Surgery Department see?
We are trained and equipped to see virtually all zoological and zoological companion animals, from a tiny rodent to a large tiger. Our clients include pet owners, zoos, specially licensed exotic animal rescues, and the movie and film industry, among others. Below is a small example of the animals we see. If you are uncertain if we will be able to help your pet, just give us a call and we will be happy to answer your questions.
What services does the Zoological Medicine and Surgery Department provide?
We are very proud to offer the best and latest treatments and technologies. In addition, at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital our specialists have a unique team approach in helping your pet and are ready to assist with our cases. That means that your pet will have access to our entire team of specialists, including our boarded surgeons, radiologists, criticalists, internists, behaviorists, neurologists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists, and oncologists, among others. We work together to provide the best possible care for your special and unique friend! We are equipped with the latest technology, including digital radiographs, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), linear accelerator, state-of-the-art anesthetic equipment and well-appointed surgical suites, intensive care unit (ICU), and endoscopy and endosurgery equipment.
Our services include (among others):
Does VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital see wildlife?
We do not currently see wildlife at our facility. However, our colleagues at the California Wildlife Center do an amazing job and are always willing to provide assistance. You can contact them at (818) 222-2658 or at www.cawildlife.org. Although we don't see wildlife brought directly from the public, we always help our colleagues from local zoos, wildlife centers and rescues with advanced medical care!
Are there specialists for zoological companion animals?
Yes. While your primary veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in zoological medicine in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.
Board Certification in zoological medicine by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM): ACZM diplomates are considered specialist in all species (avian, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and aquatics).
What is the difference between a general practitioner and an ACZM or ACZM eligible veterinarian?
ACZM diplomates and ACZM eligible veterinarians have undergone specialty training (three year residency) in zoological medicine or have six years of experience in zoological medicine. In addition, they have published at least three scientific papers in zoological medicine. Once these criteria are met they must pass an extensive examination prepared by ACZM.
General practitioners with an interest in zoological medicine have not undergone residency training.
American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM)? What is that?
The ACZM was created in 1983. It is an international specialty organization recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for certification of veterinarians with special expertise in zoological medicine, incliuding zoological companion animals.
Please feel free to give us a call or visit us if you have any questions - we are always happy to help! We are looking forward to meeting you and your feathered, scaly, finned, slimy, or furry friend.