Reptiles and amphibians are to benefit from a state-of-the-art ward that has opened at Great Western Exotics in Swindon.

It consists of several “Herptek” vivariums and has been designed to provide cold-blooded animals such as snakes and lizards with the very best of care.

The vivariums — large custom-made tanks with in-built heaters — range in size from two to five feet, meaning Great Western Exotics (GWE) vets are now able to hospitalise a wider variety of species and sizes.

The new ward has also been fitted with heavy-duty “tortoise tables” which allow non-infectious turtles, including aquatic species, to be housed in well-ventilated enclosures with large floor areas.

Image of Tariq Abou-Zahr at Vets Now GWE in Swindon
Tariq Abou-Zahr in GWE's new reptiles and amphibians ward

Refer a case to our team in Swindon

Tariq Abou-Zahr, one of the exotic residents in GWE with a keen interest in reptiles, said the new ward complements the hospital’s existing predator ward, predominantly used for ferrets and birds of prey, small mammal ward and avian ward.

He added: “While cold-blooded reptiles and amphibians like it hot, small mammals are warm-blooded and so can quickly suffer from heat stress.

“The addition of the vivariums means we are now in a position to hospitalise reptiles and amphibians entirely separately, which is in the best interests of all our patients.

“The vivariums will also allow us to offer a more comprehensive range of treatments to owners with exotic pets.”

Based at the Vets Now emergency and specialty hospital in Swindon, GWE is renowned throughout the country for its work with avian and exotic animals.

It is a tier three RCVS accredited veterinary hospital offering a 24/7 avian and exotic animal referral service. It also provides routine first-opinion consultations for exotic pet owners seven days a week.

Hospital manager Stephen Fenna said: “The new reptile and amphibian-specific ward is a wonderful addition to the hospital and one of the only wards of its kind in private veterinary practice in Britain.

“It means the hospital can continue to provide a truly 24/7 first opinion and referral service staffed exclusively by exotic animal veterinarians and exotics qualified nurses.”

The new ward has also been fitted with heavy-duty “tortoise tables”

“We are now in a position to hospitalise reptiles and amphibians entirely separately, which is in the best interests of all our patients."

Tariq Abou-Zahr Great Western Exotics

GWE is led by European specialist and diploma holder Dr Tom Dutton.

Vets Now promoted Tom, who is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, earlier this year after the retirement of GWE’s long-serving head Dr Neil Forbes.

The Vets Now hospital in Swindon is also home to an established dermatology service and also offers local veterinary practices access to a 24/7 emergency and critical care service.

To find out more visit Vets Now Swindon here.