Maya Bewig, Mark A. Mitchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter deals with the issue of veterinary participation in managing sick and injured wild animals. There are many financial, ethical, and emotional issues for veterinarians to consider when deciding whether to accept wildlife cases to their practice. Wildlife is not owned and, therefore, does not come with paying caretakers. In many cases, the hospital will be expected to absorb the cost of treatment, although avenues for monetary compensation, including grants and public donations, do exist. Accepting wildlife cases is often perceived by (prospective) clients as a positive reinforcement of a veterinarian's compassion toward animals and can serve, directly or indirectly, as a method of increasing a veterinarian's domestic and exotic pet caseload. One ethical consideration to make with these cases is deciding when intervention may interfere with a natural process occurring in a population. The potential costs of accepting wildlife cases usually include expenses associated with captivity, treatment, release, and failure to reestablish the animal in the wild, as well as the welfare risks to conspecifi{ligature}cs and other species through the possible introduction of infection or competition for resources and the upset in natural selection (for example, treating animals that have increased susceptibility to disease may inadvertently select for less fi{ligature}t animals). The potential benefits associated with working with these animals include the emotional pleasure humans derive from helping a "lesser" species, the potential to educate the public, and the opportunities this type of medicine provides for monitoring threats to wildlife and human populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManual of Exotic Pet Practice
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages37
ISBN (Print)9781416001195
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Wildlife'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Manual of Exotic Pet Practice

    Mitchell, M. A. (ed.) & Tully, Jr, T. N. (ed.), 2009, Elsevier Inc.

    Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

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