How Exotic! Large Animals Treated By Large Animal Hospitals

In petting zoos around the country, owners accumulate large, exotic animals. Usually, the zookeepers have an on-call zoologist for large animal care, but that only applies to large zoos. Petting zoos, on the other hand, have to rely on veterinarians who have experience with large animals and are willing to treat them. Here are some of the animals commonly seen in a large animal hospital when petting zoo animals need to be seen:


Elephants tend to be gentle giants unless you go near a bull elephant during mating season or get too close to a cow and newborn calf. In most cases, elephants are like cattle; slow-moving until something riles them up, herbivores, and typical family structures. Their massive size and how to treat them are the only things that really separate them from herds of cattle. Large animal hospitals not only treat petting zoo elephants but also circus elephants, making these large animals some of the most common patients in the large animal hospital.

Big Cats

Lions and tigers are also commonly seen in large animal hospitals. Their anatomy is almost the same as their smaller, domesticated cousins, which makes it easy for veterinarians to treat. The big cats often come in with wounds caused by pen mates, or the pens themselves. Big cats also have lots of problems with their teeth, as it is not exactly easy for petting zoo owners to get a lion or tiger to open its mouth and brush its teeth! Veterinarians treat the gum and tooth issues of these big cats, which help extend their lives in captivity.

Llamas and Alpacas

In the Midwest, there has been a steady trend of raising and showing alpacas and llamas. As such, there has been a correlating rise in the number of big animal vets and big animal hospitals. The owners of the alpacas and llamas have to provide the best care possible to these animals in order to keep them in showing condition. The big animal vets provide everything from trimming hooves to deworming and solutions for digestive issues. (These animals are not accustomed to eating just hay, given their South American origins, and frequently have problems with their feed.)

Monkeys and Apes

Monkeys and apes are easy enough to keep in petting zoos and circuses. In a pinch, a human doctor can see them if there are some health problems because of these animals' close relationship to humans. While most monkeys and apes are not really large, they are still considered large animals because they require more extensive care than, say, a dog, or cat.

Contact a company like Alabama Performance Horse Services for more information and assistance.