North Coast Bird & Exotic Specialties is a referral practice for birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, pocket pets, fish and other exotic pets. Dr. Gary Riggs and the North Coast staff offer a full range of diagnostics, therapies and surgeries for our bird and exotic patients. In addition, North Coast has a dedicated climate-controlled area for the special needs of some exotic pets. Our specialized training and skills, combined with the other specialists and services available through Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital, enables North Coast to provide extraordinary care for extraordinary animals!

Getting Treatment

To make an appointment or receive treatment from our board-certified specialists, you’ll need a referral from your veterinarian.

Click here to download our Referral Form

Our Services

Diagnostic Services

A host of diagnostic services are available including radiography and in-house laboratory testing, exotics specific disease testing, endoscopy, laparoscopy, ultrasonography, fluoroscopy, and even computed tomography (CT scans) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Care Counseling

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

Surgical Procedures

We offer a full range 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, and endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures utilize the most modern equipment to minimize the surgical time, trauma and risk to your pet. Hysterectomies on parakeets, C-sections in iguanas, adrenal gland tumor removal in ferrets, and air bladder procedures on fish are just a few examples of procedures commonly performed by our North Coast doctors.

Constant and Specialized Care

If hospitalization is required, patients are monitored 24 hours a day by experienced veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians and technical support staff. Required treatments can be administered around the clock to give your pet the best support possible.Patients are maintained in separate specially equipped wards to minimize stress. We utilize incubators with individually controlled and monitored temperature and humidity to tailor to your pet’s specific requirements. Intravenous fluids can be administered through pumps designed to accurately deliver small doses. Oxygen cages and ultrasonic nebulization therapy can also be provided.

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.

Consistent Contact

Unless otherwise arranged, you will receive a phone call each morning to let you know his/her status. You can expect to hear from us between 8 and 10am but if you haven’t, assume that everything is fine. Because we are part of an emergency hospital, patients sometimes require immediate attention, which may lead to a schedule change or prevent us from calling you as early as we would like. Be assured that we will call you as soon as possible.

Patient Release

We urge you to pick up your pet while North Coast staff is in the hospital. While the hospital is open 24 hours a day, the North Coast Bird and Exotic Specialties staff is generally in the hospital from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The regular hospital staff is able to release pets from the hospital until 8 p.m.When your pet is discharged, we will make every effort to talk with you and prepare you for success. Any questions or concerns that may arise when North Coast staff is off-site, either at discharge or anytime there after, can be directed to one of the many qualified emergency doctors associated with Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital. They are competent to care for your pet in our absence and they are able to contact your doctor if necessary.


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/exotic emergencies presenting during the hours that North Coast staff is on-site will be handled by us directly. After-hours emergencies will be initially handled by the experienced hospital staff, with our consultation as needed. Hospitalized exotic pets will be handled by North Coast staff. North Coast staff is either on-site or always on-call to provide the best care possible for your avian/exotic pet.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Matt Ehresman

Dr. Gary Riggs

Dr. Riggs is Board Certified in Avian Practice and one of the first 20 veterinarians to become board certified in the specialty’s charter class. He has over 25 years 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 and started the Norton based Bird and Exotic Specialty Hospital in 1993.

In addition to private practice, Dr. Riggs has been the Director of Veterinary Services and Field Conservation at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) accredited Akron Zoological Park for over 20 years. Within the AZA, Dr. Riggs is vice-Chair of the Animal Health Committee, Chairman of the Veterinary Advisory Group, Veterinary Advisor for the waterfowl Taxon Advisory Group, and the Veterinary Advisor for Species Survival Plans for the white wing wood duck and brown kiwi. Dr. Riggs lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of avian and exotic topics and is veterinary advisor for The University of Akron, Venezuelan Waterfowl Foundation (founding member), International Wild Waterfowl Association, Marshfield Labs (avian/exotic division), Ohio Division of Wildlife, Sylvan Heights Conservation Center, Medina Raptor Center, and the Hiram College Conservation Center.

Dr. Riggs’ chapter on Avian Mycobacterial Disease will be included in the upcoming Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine: Current Therapy by Fowler and Miller

Dr. Riggs is also a founding member of Wild4Ever ( a 501(C)(3) non-profit local and worldwide wildlife conservation foundation. Dr. Riggs’ areas of research include diagnosis and prevention of avian tuberculosis in white wing wood ducks, and field research on conservation and environmental impact involving Venezuelan and Cambodian waterfowl. Dr. Riggs is also on the Board of Directors for PEAC (parrot education and adoption centers).