Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 2023


**Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology**


Pre-Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Technology



Examining Committee Member

Laura Ken Hoffman, DVM, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Jeffrey Osborne, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Barbie Papajeski, LVT, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Shelby Helmerich, LVT, Committee Member


The purpose of this study is to quantify the knowledge gap between clientele and veterinary staff about exotic animal husbandry corresponding to housing and diet specifically. With the rise of social media platforms and influencers, the spread of misinformation and stigma revolving around the mistrust of veterinary staff has created strife between clients and veterinary professionals. Misinformation influences pet owners to implement aspects of care into their pets lives that may be unnecessary or harmful. Consequently, as veterinary professionals attempt to educate their clients they are not always trusting of the information being provided to them. This can lead to a lack of quality care provided by both veterinary professionals and pet owners, resulting in a poor quality of life for the animal. The research conducted was designed to investigate which particular issues clients are most uneducated about, or struggle the most with implementing into their pet’s care.

Overall, the study found that the majority of exotic animal owners were frustrated because veterinary staff had never discussed, or very minimally discussed appropriate diet and housing for their respective animal. Pet owners felt that they lacked pertinent knowledge to provide a good quality of life for their pet. Many owners suggested that they would like to see “welfare” appointments implemented in clinics where a veterinarian or veterinary technician, who is familiar with the husbandry needs of the animal, would discuss with the owner in-depth care. This could include topics such as diet, housing, enrichment, signs of poor health, and more. Many other respondents that participated in the study desired to have easier access to information on exotic animal husbandry such as handouts, pamphlets, and infographics to be provided in a visit summary after an appointment at the veterinary clinic. Hopefully, after discussing the results of this study, the field of veterinary medicine will be able to implement new tactics that lead to better communication between owners of exotic animals and veterinary professionals.

Thesis Title Page.pdf (30 kB)
Thesis Defense Documents.pdf (39 kB)
The documents brought to the thesis defense on 4/28/2023. Signed copies are in the Murray State Honor's Office.