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CityVets exotics animal vet service is led by European Specialist Livia Benato DVM CertZooMed ECZM MRCVS diplomate in small mammal medicine, the first to be based in Exeter. Livia joined us in October 2015 and is a permanent member of staff. Livia is able to offer both first opinion appointments for routine check-ups and vaccinations through to the more complex and demanding referral cases. Livia can offer advice and support to the existing CityVets team but is also available for more in-depth cases that require advanced techniques and the latest knowledge.

CityVets are the only Gold Standard Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) practice in the Southwest and currently one of only six in the UK.

The term ‘Exotics’ covers everything from rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and hamsters to reptiles including geckos, lizards, tortoises and snakes through to small and large birds including parrots, raptors, cockatiels, budgerigars, chickens and more! CityVets St Thomas have Silver Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund Standard and Heavitree is the ONLY Gold Standard RWAF practice in the Southwest and currently only one of six practices in the whole of the UK. These awards recognise that we are dedicated to providing outstanding care and facilities with knowledgeable vets to improve the health and welfare of domestic rabbits.

Livia, our exotic animal vet, is available for seeing cases, both for CityVets clients and external clients at our Heavitree Hospital and St Thomas Surgery. Please call 01392 250066 to arrange an appointment. This service is open to all of our exotics owners. Referrals and second opinions are also welcome.

Kristina joined CityVets in January 2020 as European Resident in Small Mammal Medicine and Surgery to further develop her skills in the exotics practice whilst working closely with Livia, EBVS Small Mammal Specialist. Kristina is currently working towards her European Diploma in Small Mammal Medicine as part of her residency programme.

Species seen by our Exotic Pet Services include;

  • Rabbits
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Chinchillas
  • Rats
  • Hamsters
  • Skunks
  • Chipmunks
  • Pygmy Hedgehogs
  • Degus
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Gerbils
  • Coatis
  • Geckos
  • Terrapins
  • Tortoises
  • Water and Bearded Dragons
  • Pythons
  • Boa Constrictors
  • Corn Snakes and other species of snakes
  • Parrots
  • Raptors
  • Cockatiels
  • Budgerigars
  • Chickens
  • Macaws
  • Amazon Parrots
  • African Grey Parrots
  • Many more…!

If your species of exotic is not listed please call us for guidance as this list is not exhaustive.

It's time for tortoise hibernation!

Hibernation is an important part of tortoise management. It is part of the seasonal variation and gives tortoises a natural rest. If tortoises do not hibernate, the increased metabolism and food intake could lead to abnormal growth. When the days get shorter and the environmental temperatures decrease, tortoises get ready to hibernate. Hibernation can be a critical time for a tortoise and careful planning is necessary for a successful outcome. Our tortoise hibernation care sheet provides more information here.


Emerging Rabbit Disease – Information for Owners

Vaccination available for Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease – Virus 2 (RHDV2)

Every year your rabbit is vaccinated against two fatal infectious diseases: Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD-V1).

However, , a new variant of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) has been noted in the UK and recently has been reported in Devon and Cornwall as well. This new virus affects rabbits of any age and is spread by direct contact, insects and footwear.

The new vaccine is now available at CityVets Heavitree and is strongly recommended for all rabbits.

The new RVHD2 vaccine will provide the necessary protection and help towards preventing this disease from spreading further.

Note that this product will not replace the regular annual vaccine, which still remains the main way of protecting pet rabbits against Myxomatosis.

If you are interested in having your rabbit/s vaccinated against RVHD2 or would like to have more information about the new vaccine, please contact CityVets Heavitree by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phone 01392 250066.

CityVets endorses the excellent Exotic Pet Shop.

Client Information Sheets

  • Alphington | 12 Lovelace Gardens,
    Exeter, Devon,
    EX2 8XQ
    | T: 01392 493999 |
  • Heavitree | Rosary House,
    27 Fore Street,
    Heavitree, Exeter,
    EX1 2QJ
    | T: 01392 250066 |
  • St Thomas | 101 Buddle Lane,
    St Thomas,
    Exeter, Devon,
    EX4 1QS
    | T: 01392 250000 |
  • Whipton | 46 Whipton Village Road,
    EX4 8AW
    | T: 01392 465553 |