Zoo and exotic medicine is a highly specialized and challenging veterinary field—one that Dr. Javier Nevarez has tackled head on since graduating from veterinary school and completing a zoo medicine internship in 2002. He then achieved American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) diplomate and the European College of Zoological Medicine (ECZM) diplomate status in 2011, and joined the elite ranks of exotics specialists.

VESPECON is fortunate to have Dr. Nevarez on staff to guide clinical practice and zoo medicine veterinarians through their tough cases. Our team understands that exotics medicine is highly collaborative, and that it takes a village to uncover the medical mysteries inherent to each species. Here, we learn about Dr. Nevarez’s career and some of his personal life to explain the knowledge and skill he brings to the VESPECON team.

Avian and exotics: A day in the life

Avian and exotics veterinarians spend their days managing the health and wellness of multiple animal species, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and exotic mammals, and discussing pets’ problems with their owners. They perform examinations, diagnostic tests, or surgery,  using scoping procedures, radiosurgery, microsurgery, and advanced imaging to meet their small patients’ needs. Exotics specialists in an academic institution, like Dr. Nevarez, not only provide services to the public and to privately owned exotic animals and wildlife, but also conduct research to advance zoo and exotics medicine.

What can an avian and exotics specialist treat?

Exotics veterinarians are problem-solvers—they treat a wide variety of illness and injury across many different species. Some of the most common problems treated by an exotic pet veterinarian include:

  • Egg binding
  • Feather picking
  • Bandaging and wound management
  • Orthopedic and shell injuries
  • Dystocia
  • Eye disease
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Dental issues
  • Metabolic and nutrition problems
  • Bladder stones
  • GI stasis
  • Parasites and infectious disease
  • Tumors

Dr. Javier Nevarez: Q & A

Dr. Nevarez’s answers to our questions provide information and insight into his professional and personal life.

Question: Where did you complete your veterinary education?
Answer: Louisiana State University

Q: Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
A: I was born in Puerto Rico, but have lived in Baton Rouge since 1994.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue a veterinary specialty?
A: I wanted to dive in-depth into the anatomy and physiology of zoological species and practice at the highest level possible.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your specialty?
A: I enjoy being challenged on a daily basis and having to use my foundational knowledge to solve new problems.

Q: What has been your most fulfilling or interesting case as a veterinary specialist?
A: There are too many to choose from, but seeing patients who previously had surgery come back years later for our care is a specific point of satisfaction. It is living proof that we can do good for our patients.

Q: How did you come to work with VESPECON?
A: I have known Dr. Pierce (i.e., Kenneth Pierce, DVM, MS, DACVO, VESPECON founder and CEO) since his time at LSU, and when he called, I did not hesitate to join. I knew he was a person of character and integrity, and those are important qualities.

Q: How does working with zoo, avian, and exotic medicine through VESPECON benefit or help general practitioners
A: As a VESPECON consultant, I can help practitioners elevate the level of care for zoological species.

Q: Tell us about your family, including your two- and four-legged family members.
A: I share my life and a home with my wife, Leslie, and three daughters. We have two dogs, three snakes, two box turtles, and a saltwater aquarium.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I enjoy water sports and anything related to sports cars.

Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies or special talents?
A: I grew up sailing, and it’s the thing I miss most living away from the ocean.

Q: What is the most interesting place you have traveled?
A: The Galapagos Islands for sure—an amazing place!

Veterinarians can consult with Dr. Nevarez for help with their complex avian and exotic cases through our VESPECON video chat platform. Collaboration is key in the zoo medicine field, and we’re here to facilitate communication and teamwork. Contact us to get started, or to learn more about our consultation and concierge specialty services.