How to find a good Vet for your Turtle.


Active Member
5 Year Member
Sep 8, 2016
Our current Vet for our tortoise is fantastic.
But it took effort to find her. Even though we live in a big city and were members of the Tortoise Society,
we still went through five vets over the years to find this one. We finally found her through on-line searching and reviews and referrals.

I wanted to share some observations and open a thread for other members to post on with their experiences finding good care, I thought this might be helpful to have for other folks in the future. I'm also trying to load this with as many keywords as possible for good search results, I didn't find an existing thread with these questions so am just putting this out there.

Caveats: This is just our experience, and a Vet may not always say or agree with what the expert members say here, but asking your questions here will give your more good things to ask your vet.
When there's a major change in your turtles behavior, or something that's just strange that concerns you, don't settle for only what you find in the forum.
A behavior that is normal for other turtles, may not be for yours, follow your gut and find a vet if you feel you need one do it as soon as you can and can afford it.
Our tortoise is very accustomed to us handling him and lets me file his beak and trim his toenails.
In general people are more likely to post negative reviews then positive ones, look for good feed back,
but take it all with a grain of salt. And ask here on the forum too, they have been amazing helpful to me during a very confounding time with our tortoise. Veterinarian Fees: Be prepared, at least here care they can cost as much as human care. I'm a very junior member, so more grains of salt.

Our first visit with our Vet.
- The turtle did not pull in hard.
- She immediately petted him then picked him up.
- The Vet knew how to make him stick his head out,
and was not afraid to handle him gently but firmly.
- She knew how to make him open his mouth, and hold his head
without hurting him.
- She was not afraid to harmlessly annoy him a little to see inside his mouth
- This Vet did not need to make me wait while she called some teacher
or colleague.
- They were setup for taking blood tests, oral swabs and x-rays in house.
- Takling to other turtle owners in the waiting room gave positive feed back.
- The entire staff was well informed, nurses knew how to give injections and teach it,
and common words among turtle owners raised no questions.
- The Vet emails us and answers back. She listened and answered all my questions.
- The Staff fits you in when you really need them (even if with a little extra fee).

With other vets who were not so good.
- Our tortoise would not come out at all.
- They didn't touch him
- They needed outside help at the very beginning.
- The only option right away was a costly referral.
- They could do nothing in house for a reptile.
- We had to wait days while they asked around for more information.

Other thoughts:
- Make a written or phone list before your visit.
- Yes, it costs money, but if your fist try is not a good one, find another doctor.
- Don't be afraid of giving injections, oral meds are if-y.
- Try to accept Life's patterns, strive to see when to stop invasive care and go into hospice mode or let your turtle go.
What does your living will say, how would you treat your human loved one?

Our Vet is Alexandra Wilson, DVM at The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York.

How did you find your good vet?

hope this helps


New Member
Aug 17, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Norman, Oklahoma
Thank you! I am a first time sulcata owner and I am worried about finding a good vet. Wasn't sure what to even look for. This is very helpful.


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Dec 28, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
Vitamin shots are also a bad sign. If a vet suggests that, they probably have only dealt with mammals and know little about reptiles.

jsheffield - In Memoriam

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Sep 29, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Westmoreland, NH
I haven't found the right one yet ... the vet I use for my dogs made a combination face and shoulder shrug that gave me grave doubts.



Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Dec 31, 2015
Location (City and/or State)
first one had I asked a reptile dealer near me who they used ……. second one I asked the zoo ……… my current one I asked one of my dogs vets …...

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