The Exotics Department is a specialized practice for birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, pocket pets, and all other exotic pets. Our Exotics staff offers a full range of diagnostics, therapies and surgeries for our bird and exotic patients. If your pet requires hospitalization, the Exotics Department utilizes climate-controlled hospital enclosures in a separate exotic pet ward for their special needs. Our goal is to offer extraordinary care for extraordinary animals! For more information about our Exotics Department please visit their website: Exotic Pet Vets

Getting Treatment

To make an appointment at our Cleveland East location please call: 440-673-3483

For our Norton/Barberton location please call 330-825-2434

Click here to download our Referral Form for your veterinarian

Our Services

Diagnostic Services

A wide range of diagnostic services are available to enable us to help your pet, including digital radiography, in-house laboratory testing, endoscopy, laparoscopy, ultrasonography, and computed tomography (CT scans) and Vimago.

Care Counseling

We address many of the unique problems encountered in exotic species, including behavior issues, and nutritional counseling.

Surgical Procedures

If needed, we offer a full complement of surgical procedures to benefit your pet. Trauma repair, orthopedic procedures, reproductive emergencies, and diagnostic surgical procedures are but a few of our standard surgical offerings. Traditional surgery, magnified microsurgery, laser enhanced procedures, along with endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures utilize the most modern equipment to minimize the surgical time, trauma and risk to your pet. No pet is too small, too large or too exotic to receive optimal surgical care. Our decades worth of exotic animal anesthesia and pain control experience will help your pet have the care it deserves in its time of need.

Specialized Care

If hospitalization is required, patients are monitored by experienced veterinarians and experienced registered veterinary technicians. Required treatments and nutrition can be safely administered to give your pet the best support possible. Patients are maintained in a separate, specially equipped exotics ward to minimize stress and provide climate-controlled care.

Our Practice

Thank you for choosing our practice and allowing us to care for your special pet’s special needs. Because we appreciate and share your concern for your pet, it is our goal to alleviate any uneasiness by keeping you well informed of your pet’s condition throughout his/her stay in our hospital. Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions during their stay with us!

Unless otherwise arranged, you will receive a phone calls daily (7 days a week) to let you know how your pet is doing.  We’ll touch base as soon as possible and will call with any changes in condition!

Patient Release

Arrangements for pick-up can accommodate your schedule. We’ll talk to you by phone or in person about the details of your pet’s release and what is to be expected at home.  We will set-up times for you to call us with updates and schedule recheck appointments as needed.


Since exotic pets are adept at hiding early symptoms of problems, emergencies are common. Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital is open all day, every day to meet your emergency needs. Avian and exotic emergencies presenting during the hours that the Exotics staff is on-site will be handled by us directly. After-hours emergencies will be initially handled by the hospital staff, at our Akron location, with our Exotics staff consulting with the emergency doctors on your pet’s case. Urgent Care hours are offered 10a-4p at our Cleveland East location on Saturday and Sunday. Hospitalized exotic pets will be handled by the Exotics staff in conjunction with ER technicians until our staff takes over care. The Exotics staff is either on-site or on-call to provide the best care possible for your avian/exotic pet.

Meet Our Doctors

Gary Riggs DVM, ABVP

Gary Riggs DVM, ABVP: Avian

Dr. Riggs is Board Certified in Avian Practice and one of the first 20 veterinarians in North America to become board certified in the specialty’s charter class. He has over 30 years of experience caring for a wide variety of zoo, exotic, avian, and wildlife species. Dr. Riggs has been associated with the Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital since 1981. He is the owner of the Barberton Veterinary Clinic, The Animal Clinic:Wadsworth and NorthCoast Bird & Exotic Specialties.

In addition to private practice, Dr. Riggs has been a consulting zoo veterinarian where he served as AZA vice-Chair of the Animal Health Committee, AAZV Chairman of the Veterinary Advisory Group, Veterinary Advisor for the waterfowl Taxon Advisory Group, and the Veterinary Advisor for Species Survival Plan for the white wing wood duck. Dr. Riggs has lectured nationally and internationally on a variety of avian and exotic topics and has served on the Governor’s Wild and Restricted Animal Advisory Board.  Dr. Riggs currently is the consulting veterinarian for the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, NLA Exotic Animal Sanctuary, and Stark Park Wildlife Services. Dr. Riggs and his wife are founders of Wild4Ever wildlife conservation foundation.  W4E provides support for wildlife and their habitat globally and at home and currently participates in, and supports, NE Ohio’s spotted turtle initiative.

Emily Velez DVM

Emily Velez DVM

Bio coming soon!

Exotics Department

Technical Staff

The exotics department is very proud of our highly trained and experienced registered technicians that support our practice. Our staff has decades of exotic animal experience and are expert at carrying out the treatments and diagnostics necessary to help your pet in every way possible. Best care anywhere!

All of our veterinarians and technicians enjoy working with ALL types of exotic animals…and look forward to helping yours too!