By Puja Bhattacharjee
Chicago Exotics Animal hospital opened its doors in November 2000 in Skokie, Ill. The clinic was started by Dr. Susan Horton who saw the need for an exotics-only practice. It caters exclusively to exotic pets like chinchillas, geckos, hamsters, bearded dragons and tortoises. The clinic has three full-time doctors, as many part-time doctors and nine technicians.
“Cats and dogs need vaccines and the law mandates the owners take them to the veterinarian,” says Lamor Gatenio, a member of management at the Chicago Exotics Animal hospital. The challenge, says Gatenio, was to make people who own animals other than cats and dogs understand their needs and wellness. Access to exotic animal care has grown but there are still areas with no access to exotic care.
“There are other exotic animal hospitals in Illinois that supplement their income with either holistic care of cats or dogs. Or they offer emergency services after hours to cats or dogs. We are truly the only free-standing exotic clinic that does not service cats or dogs at all,” adds Gatenio.