The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has approved a new specialty for veterinarians. Starting in November 2009, vets will be able to apply for an Exotic Companion Mammal (ECM) specialization, which includes ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents and other pocket pets. To attain the specialization, vets are required to have 6 years experience with exotic companion mammals, letters of reference, published articles, and they must pass a 2-day exam.
This is great news for rabbit owners. Not only will this make it easier to find a rabbit-savvy vet, but it also demonstrates an increase of rabbits’ status as a pet. People are viewing rabbits and other small mammals as more “serious” pets on par with cats and dogs. In fact, according to the 2007 edition of the AVMA’s U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, Americans own 6.2 million pet rabbits, which is an increase of 1.4 million over the past 5 years.