Just like dogs and cats, exotic pets need veterinary care, too, and should be seen for routine wellness exams, as well as when they are sick or injured. BEVS introduced Exotics care in January 2023 and brought on Dr. Jordan Adair to lead the department. If you have exotics patients in need of advanced or emergency care, please don’t hesitate to refer them.

CASE STUDY: Stumpy’s Trachea Lesion

Initial X-Rays

8-week recheck X-Rays

Patient: Stumpy, 7-year-old male domestic Mallard Duck

Reason for visit: Intermittent dyspnea

Exam/Diagnostics: Stumpy was breathing normally on presentation but quickly developed respiratory distress when being restrained for examination. He was sedated and a brief physical exam was performed, which revealed no significant findings. Initial diagnostic testing included lateral and ventrodorsal full-body radiographic imaging, followed by lateral and ventrodorsal radiography of the head and neck. A lesion was present in the trachea at the level of C6, which was consistent with a complete 360° transverse tracheal rupture or, less likely, a disease process (neoplasia, infection, etc.) causing localized lysis of the tracheal rings. No subcutaneous emphysema or air leakage associated with the lesion. Gentle palpation of the area revealed an approximately 1 cm tracheal defect, with no crepitus or external evidence of trauma noted. 

A tentative diagnosis of a complete transverse tracheal rupture of unknown origin was made, with CT, tracheoscopy, or exploratory surgery being needed for confirmation.  

Treatment: After a discussion with the owner, immediate surgery to explore and correct the defect was pursued. Anesthesia was induced, Stumpy was carefully intubated, and an air sac cannula was placed in the left caudal thoracic air sac. The endotracheal tube was then removed and anesthesia was maintained through the air sac cannula. Although the trachea was clearly separated, the delicate adventitial layer around the trachea was intact. This thin layer of tissue was sufficient to prevent air leakage and the development of subcutaneous emphysema and allowed Stumpy to breathe normally when at rest. Other than being transected, the trachea appeared healthy, with no obvious, gross pathology noted. Additionally, there was no other evidence of trauma observed within the surgical field that may have been associated with the injury. The separated ends of the trachea were apposed with 6 simple interrupted sutures and the incision was closed. 

Outcome: A post-operative tracheoscopy was performed with a 2.7-mm rigid endoscope to assess the surgical repair. The trachea appeared well apposed and no significant narrowing or intraluminal debris was observed. Approximately 8 weeks after the surgical procedure, Stumpy was presented for re-examination. The owner reported that he had exhibited no further respiratory signs and was ‘‘completely back to normal.’’ No abnormalities were identified during the physical examination. Radiographic images and a tracheoscopy examination of the tracheal lumen performed when the bird was reassessed revealed only a small degree of narrowing at the anastomosis site with no accompanying signs of inflammation.

Immediate post-operative tracheoscopy 

4-week recheck tracheoscopy


(Practice Limited to Exotics)

Dr. Jordan Adair is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where he earned his DVM in 2016. Following a mixed exotic/small animal internship at NorthCoast Bird and Exotics Specialty Hospital/Barberton Veterinary Clinic in Ohio, Dr. Adair went on to complete his ABVP Avian Residency at the same clinic from 2017-2020.


During his residency, he saw all species of exotics legal in Ohio, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and exotic companion mammals. He worked with Good Samaritans, local wildlife rehabilitators, and several park systems in surrounding counties to triage and treat injured and sick wildlife–free of charge. Working closely with his mentor, Dr. Gary Riggs, he also treated animals at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and Noah’s Lost Ark, an exotic animal sanctuary that is home to over 150 animals, including lions, tigers, mountain lions, wolves, bears, and tortoises. 


He was recently awarded by the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, the AAV/Lafeber Manuscript Award “Best Clinical Report” for his research with Dr. Gary L. Riggs, “Treatment of Recurrent Multifocal Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in an African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) with Intralesional Carboplatin in Poloxamer 407.”


Dr. Adair is enjoying living in the green mountain state and looking forward to all that Vermont has to offer alongside his dog, two cats, and a Dumeril’s boa.


Our Exotics Department provides comprehensive wellness and preventative care, nutrition, advanced diagnostics, medical diagnosis and management, and orthopedic and soft tissue surgery for:

  • Small exotic mammals including rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, and all pocket pets
  • All non-venomous reptiles
  • Most avian species including parrots, raptors, poultry, and waterfowl
  • Wildlife (with valid wildlife rehabilitator permit)

We do not treat venomous snakes, most primates, adult ratites (ostriches, emus, rheas), or any illegally owned animals. BEVS also offers exotic patients access to specialized housing, high-quality digital X-ray, ultrasound, CT, endoscopy, and in-house laboratory and pharmacy.


Ultrasounds are available by appointment through the Internal Medicine Department, Monday through Friday. If an ultrasound is required sooner than appointment availability, your patient may be seen on an emergency basis through our Emergency Department. Based on the pet’s symptoms, and severity, our ED may order an ultrasound on a case-by-case basis.

A Truly Collaborative Approach

The best relationships successfully serve the interests of both partners. Our goal is to support you, your practice, and your patients in a manner that works well for all parties.

If you have any questions about our Exotics services or would like to discuss a patient, please call us at 802.863.BEVS (2387). To help expedite the referral process, you can fill out our Patient Referral Form online or visit our Referring Veterinary Portal. We’re here to help in whatever way we can.

Burlington Emergency and Veterinary Specialists

1417 Marshall Avenue, Williston, VT 05495 | 802.863.2387 | bevsvt.com


24/7 Emergency | Acupuncture | Dentistry | Exotics | Internal Medicine

Neurology | Radioiodine Therapy (I-131) | Rehabilitation | Surgery

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