Deakin Vet Dr Sandy Hume on his Inspiration for treating exotic pets

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Inner South Veterinary Centre
47 Jerrabomberra Ave
ACT 2604

1800 785 330

Being an exotics vet has its triumphs and tribulations but according to Deakin vet Dr Sandy Hume, Canberra’s exotics pet veterinarian, the work is challenging, yet rewarding and extremely interesting.

“There are so many types of animals that people can keep, including birds, exotic mammals, such as rabbits, ferrets, rats and mice, reptiles, fish, amphibians, including frogs and axolotls and even insects. This presents a huge challenge for exotic animal vets as each of these is a separate species and they all have enormous differences in nutrition, habitat and diseases”, states Dr Hume.

Dr Sandy’s passion for unique pets extends to his home life, where he has his own little exotic menagerie at home, including two Amazon Parrots from Brazil, a Diamond Python and a very cuddly rabbit.

Dr Sandy advises that rabbits make fantastic pets:

“In my opinion, rabbits are a fabulous alternative to cats as pets. They can be easily house trained and are usually quite cuddly and are vegetarians!”

Dr Sandy Hume has been an bird vet and exotics pet vet for over 25 years, since he received training by one of Australia’s leading avian bird vets, Dr Jim Gill. He now works with a talented team of veterinarians in Canberra’s Inner South Veterinary Centre as the local Deakin vet.

“Veterinary knowledge is expanding very rapidly and there is too much knowledge for one person to absorb. In a practice like ours it means we can provide a wide range of pets with treatments for a wide range of problems because we all know that if we don’t know the answer, one of our colleagues will”, Dr Sandy adds.

Dr Sandy Hume consults primarily as an exotics vet in Canberra, accepting referrals of complex exotic pet cases from surrounding veterinary practices.

“Many of my consultations are really about teaching clients about the correct methods of keeping these animals as pets as many of the diseases I see are caused by incorrect diet, incorrect temperatures, lack of UV light and so on”, advises Dr Hume.

After 25 years in exotic pet practice, Dr Sandy finds his job very rewarding;

“I find it very satisfying when an unhealthy, undernourished animal comes back a few months later happy and healthy and enjoying life again”, adds Dr Sandy.

There are a lot more exotics veterinarians now compared to 25 years ago, but there are also many more exotic pets in Canberra to treat. Being set up with the proper equipment and staff knowledge about exotic pets means the outcome for unwell exotics pets is maximised, particularly in the case of sick birds.

“I remember a little budgie that presented to me in a coma and it appeared to be taking its last gasps. It was in shock and dying due to starvation as the young boy looking after it made a common error and did not realise it had eaten all of its seed and what looked like seed in the food dish were just husks. After some fluid, some food and being in our special heated hospital cage, he made an amazing recovery. The boy was so happy that he got a second chance to care for his budgie properly”, recalls Dr Hume.

No exotic pet is too strange for the Deakin vet to treat. He recalls performing an emergency operation on a chameleon, owned by the local zoo keeper;

“Chameleons are usually a beautiful green colour and have cute little feet like mittens and googly eyes. I had to perform an emergency operation on a female chameleon with some eggs stuck inside her. She made a full recovery but when I saw her on the next few occasions, she would go from green to black. I asked the zookeeper whether this colour change was common and he said ‘whenever she sees you she gets angry and so changes colour’. I soon learnt that chameleons have a pretty good bite!”

Deakin vet Dr Sandy Hume is available for consultations at the Inner South Veterinary Centre via appointment by phoning (02) 6295 0770. 

For further information, please call 6295 0770 or visit


This article was written by veterinarian and writer Dr Gretta Howard and reproduced with her permission.

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