Recommend a Chinchilla Vet in NYC
November 8, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a good chinchilla vet in NYC?

Our chinchilla (the gf's, mine by adoption) is doing wonderful—and I want to make sure he continues to do so. We moved and would like to get set up with a vet so if anything does go wrong we'll be in the best position to do something about it.

Google helps us find a whole bunch of doctors in New York City, but it's not like you can just try everyone out there (cheaply). So we'd really appreciate anecdotal information: who is sweet, who is smart, who will care as much about Kirby as we do*?

We're based in Williamsburg and a close doc would be great, but a bit further and better wouldn't be so bad either.

*well, nobody. But you know what we mean
posted by Brainy to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
The term you are looking for is a vet that treats, 'Exotics'. They are the ones with smaller equipment and specialize in, well, exotics.

Check a chinchilla-only discussion forum for recommendations.
posted by typewriter at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2010

Are you totally sure that owning a chinchilla is legal in NYC? There is an exhaustive list (that I am unfortunately not able to find at the mo) of banned pets on the website, and it would suck to take Kirby to the vet only to have them report you to the health department (idek if they actually do that or not, admittedly).

Otherwise, yes, you want a vet that specializes in exotic pets.
posted by elizardbits at 4:14 PM on November 8, 2010

You should call Tribeca-Soho Animal Hospital on Lispernard Street, 212-925-6100. I have nothing but praise for these folks and miss them tremendously since moving to the west coast.

True story: Fat Cat had problems. He saw everyone for his weight issues. Out of desperation, I finally decided to telephone interview every vet in the Yellow Pages we had not tried in Manhattan, hoping to find a good office. Would you believe it? Every office I called was rude and refused to answer even a few simple questions - it was either make an appointment or "goodbye." Then, I called these guys! The receptionist was happy to talk about the qualifications of the staff. She invited me in for a tour of the facillities and to meet a few of the doctors to evaluate if I wanted to make an appointment there. My response was, "Thank you, but that won't be necessary. Do you have any available appointments later today?"

Fat Cat became Healthy Cat within 5 months, the follow-up care was amazing (and free! we stopped by once a month for a weigh-in, picked up the food, easy-peasy!) They saw my other pets over the years with great success. I adopted a stray through them, too. Sure they are super pricey, but not as pricey as seeing vet after vet.

Call and see if they have someone who specializes in chinchilla care. They are the most professional and competent office in NYC I ever dealt with.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 4:23 PM on November 8, 2010

The NYC Health Code as pertains to prohibited wild animals. I don't know if a chinchilla would count as a forbidden "large rodent" or not, given that prairie dogs and gophers are on the verboten list, but guinea pigs and hamsters are okay. But there's a chinchilla rescue shelter in Long Island, and their site doesn't say it's illegal to have a chinchilla in NYC, so it's probably okay.
posted by gingerest at 4:42 PM on November 8, 2010

They sell chinchillas at the union square petco. Not that that means it's legal but they probably have a list of vets that treat them.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2010

If the chinchilla rescue shelter is any where close to you, call them and find out who there vet is. That's how I found my turtle vet.
posted by stray thoughts at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2010

Chinchillas are legal in NYC -- unlike ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and a variety of other 'exotic' pets. I went through the process of trying to figure out what I could get and what I couldn't, a couple years back. :)

As people above have noted, what you're looking for is an Exotics vet. While I can't make any Brooklyn-based recommendations, I take my fuzzballs to The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine (Columbus btwn 87th & 88th st.). They actually don't even take dogs/cats/etc, it's all about the birds and small mammals (and I think reptiles too). They've always been very sweet and friendly to me there. A standard check-up runs ~$90 or so (which I think is fairly normal for exotics vets). They also always follow-up after appts to make sure everything is still alright.

Anecdotes: I was a very nervous pet owner when I got my first chinchilla -- though I'd always had animals as a kid, it was always cats and dogs. I was terrified that with Mischief, I'd handle her too roughly or she'd somehow chomp something she shouldn't and hurt herself. A couple months after I got her, I noticed she suddenly seemed listless and wasn't eating as much. In a panic, I called the vet, who let me bring her in the same afternoon since, "things can happen so quickly with smaller animals -- let's make sure she's alright as fast as possible!" (turns out, she was just in heat and was completely fine)

Six months after that, when I woke up one morning to find a surprise baby chin in the cage (both of mine are girls, but apparently Luna was already knocked up when I got her!), they calmed me down via phone and answered my questions. Three months after THAT, I took the little guy to them to be neutered, so that I wouldn't end up with even more. :)
posted by Kattiara17 at 10:40 PM on November 8, 2010

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