Animal Protection Line


Reptiles Need Vet Care Too

Reptiles, just like mammals, get sick and feel pain, and they require veterinary care just like other animals when they are wounded or ill.

Dr. Susanna Ogle is a veterinarian at Harvest Pointe Veterinary Clinic in Edmonton who specializes in vet care for reptiles. She says many owners avoid taking their reptiles to see a vet because they mistakenly believe vets do not have the proper knowledge and educational background to care for exotic pets. She notes, getting an annual check up for your reptile ensures it is happy and healthy, and that health concerns are discovered early so the animal does not suffer.

Reptiles, even though they are wild animals in many parts of the world, do get sick and their illnesses are often caused by their owners through poor husbandry. The Animal Protection Act in Alberta requires pet owners to seek medical care for their animals when that animal is sick or injured.

It is recommended that reptile owners take their pet to see a vet within a few days of being purchased so the vet can check the animal for any health issues, and discuss common problems that arise through poor environment and diet.

Dr. Ogle with clinic snake Leviathan in 2001

Enclosures and Environment

The enclosures required to keep reptiles healthy and happy often cost substancially more than the animal itself.

A poor environment for reptiles can lead to numerous health issues. Many need enclosures with specific humidity, lighting, and enough space to move around. The needs of each species are different, and can even vary within the species.

Enrichment is another important consideration. Does the enclosure provide the ability for the animal to exhibit its natural behaviours.


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