Veterinarians, like their human medicine counterparts, have come a long way during the past few decades. Veterinary medicines, including small animal veterinarians, have specialized over the years, just as medical doctors have in the human sector. In some animal hospitals, the phrase small animal, isnt limited to just kittens and puppies. Very often, local small animal veterinarians at a particular clinic will also treat guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, and even chinchillas and ferrets, with a residing doctor having a special interest in exotic animals. This means that he or she will also treat birds and reptiles, including snakes, lizards, and turtles. So you shouldnt be at all surprised if you see a boa constrictor or ball python, iguana, Chinese water dragon, or the ever popular Bearded Dragon in a local small animal veterinarian's waiting room. You could also see any bird from a parakeet to a cockatoo, to a blue and gold macaw. Many local small animal veterinarians now specialize and work at Veterinary Specialty Centers. What this means is, that if your pet requires diagnostics and treatment beyond the scope of the general practice hospital or clinic, you and your pet will be referred to a local small animal veterinary specialty center. These hospitals usually provide such diagnostics as radiology (x-rays), oncology (cancer diagnosis and treatment, and yes, even chemotherapy), specialty surgery, which includes removal of malignancies; as opposed to general practice surgery, such as spays, neuters and declaw. Some small animal veterinarians even practice nuclear medicine, detecting thyroid disease in cats and liver shunt disease in dogs. This has allowed for feline thyroid disease to be 98% curable!