A NEW school is opening up to help student vets get over their fears of snakes and rats.
Rising numbers of unusual animals being kept as pets prompted Edinburgh University to set up an exotic teaching facility.
It is estimated there are 100,000 households in the UK with snakes and a further 80,000 with pet rats – all of whom need veterinary care.
But even vets have phobias, and they will be given special one-to-one lessons to help them overcome their fears at The Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies in Midlothian.
Exotic pets on the increase
Students will learn how to treat chinchillas, lizards, snakes, rats, hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as the right temperature and diet that the animals require so that they can give expert advice to owners.
They will also be able to carry out supervised placements at the unit, which will be unveiled later today (Thursday) as the UK’s first specialist training facility for veterinary students.
Gidona Goodman, lecturer in exotic animal and wildlife medicine, said: “Students do not often get much exposure to handling exotic animals until they start treating them under supervision in clinics in their final year.
“However, exotics pets are on the increase and this unit will mean that students will be much better equipped in handling such animals.
“Giving students this experience early on is important as it provides them with the skills and confidence to treat animals with a variety of problems.”
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