We’re excited to present to you our vet of the month, Dr Coetzee de Beer, from the Centre for Avian, Reptiles and Exotics in Klapmuts, Stellenbosch.

Birds of a feather flock to Dr de Beer for excellent health services. That’s why we’ve asked the expert himself to share exotic pet care tips to keep our birds at home chirpy and in fine feather.

Before we chirp on about exotic pet care tips, let’s first get to know this awesome doc on a more personal level with a few interesting Q&As…



Q: Where were you born?

A: “I was born in Johannesburg.”

Q: Did you always know you wanted to become a vet?

A: “I grew up in a vet household, my dad is a bird vet, I never wanted to be anything else.”

Q: What made you want to become a vet?

A: “I was always intrigued by animals and helping them. I wanted to give them the best medical care available. I left South Africa to go study in Australia.”

Q: Do you have pets?

A: “Yes, I have 3 dogs (Bassett, Great Dane and a short hair Pointer and Great Dane cross), 2 parrots (African Grey and a Blue and Gold Macaw), horses, farm chickens and 2 cows.”

Whoa! This sounds like the perfect pet family to us! The more, the merrier! #love

Q: What is your spirit animal and why?

A: “Probably a parrot – I’m goofy and inquisitive but don’t mess with me as I’ll bite.”

LOL, we’ll keep our fingers to ourselves then and just enjoy the goofiness 😊!


Let’s flutter and find out more about his unique vet practice…


Q: Where is it based?

A: “Centre for Avian, Reptiles and Exotics is based in Klapmuts. We also have 5 satellite locations – Steenberg Veterinary Clinic; Vetpoint in Sea Point; Sunset Beach Veterinary Clinic; Longacres Animal Hospital and Boland Animal Clinic.”

Q: Tell us about your clients/patients?

A: “We treat avian and exotic patients – birds, small mammals (rabbits, rats, guinea pigs) and reptiles (snakes, tortoise, lizards).”

Q: What is the weirdest thing you have seen or treated a patient for?

A: “When I was in Australia, I treated a wild monitor lizard that was flown 1,200km to see me for a tail amputation.”
All right, we’re gasping our tails off for sure! Talk about royal veterinary treatment! 😊

Q: What is your stand-out career moment to date?

A: “I’ve won a few awards in my career but the best moment is to send patients home that were very ill. No accolade or award can beat that feeling.”

Aww, our furry, fluffy, feathery and scaled hearts just skipped a massive beat in adoration of this pet hero… #respect


Let’s talk exotic pets, birds in particular.



Q: Do you have any general healthcare tips for pet parents?

A: “A healthy diet is VERY important.”

Q: What are the most common illnesses and injuries of the exotic pets (birds) you treat?

A: “We often see diet related diseases like respiratory infections; liver and heart disease related to high fat foods.”

Q: Which bird breed is your most popular patient?

A: “African Grey by far.”

Q: What should pet parents do to keep their birds healthy?

A: “Feed your birds a good diet and go for regular vet check-ups. Ensure that there is no hazardous material in and around the cage (rust/lead paint). Birds are habitual animals and it is very important for the owner to know. If there are any deviation from the norm, the owner should investigate that.”

Q: Why do birds pluck their feathers?

A: “There are a few medical reasons that I recommend an avian vet investigate. However it can very commonly be caused by frustration due to little sleep and boredom. I recommend that owners let their birds go to sleep when the sun goes down and teach them how to forage. This will imitate what they would do in the wild.”

Q: Are there any human foods that are poisonous and a complete no-go?

A: “There are some items to avoid like avocado, onion, garlic and rhubarb.”

Q: Do you get involved in any charitable work/bird outreach programmes? Tell us about it and how people can get involved.

A: “YES, I work with a few different rescues. I find great joy helping out the rescues and finding animals their forever homes.”

Dr Coetzee supports Bunny Huggers SA, Barefoot Rescue and Squirrel Rescue, Laat Waai Papegaai and Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue.


Concluding remarks by Dr Coetzee…

He recommends that pet owners sign up for pet insurance, because it makes it easier for the emotionally stressed owner and the vet. He says that it is always difficult to discuss finances with owners. He also believes in regular vet check-ups for our birds, reptiles and other exotic pets. “I recommend 4-yearly vet check-ups to ensure that there are no underlying health issues.”

Sincere thanks to Dr Coetzee for answering our questions, giving helpful advice and allowing us to feature his practice here. We appreciate everything that you do for our exotic family members. May you continue to soar while lending an expert healing hand to these incredible creatures! We’re happy to see your dreams take flight. 😉

You can reach out to the Centre for Avian, Reptiles and Exotics on Facebook, visit their website at www.vet-care.co.za or call them on 021 875 5063.