At present, SERV concentrates on:
• Small mammals - rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats, mice
• Reptiles - snakes, lizards, turtles
• Amphibians - frogs, axolotls
Under their care, all aspects of preventative health, husbandry, medicine, surgery and hospitalisation for these species are catered for. The SERV vets consult as primary accession and referral exotic small mammal and reptile/amphibian vets in Sydney at the North Shore Veterinary Specialist Centre.
Dr David Vella
BSc BVSc (Hons) DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammals)
Dr David Vella is the Director of Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (1992) and a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (1996) – both from the University of Sydney. In 2009, David became a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP) in Exotic Companion Mammals, the first Australian vet to achieve these credentials. This Diplomate accreditation focuses on the veterinary care of mammals such as rabbits, ferrets and rodents.
Dr Vella was amongst the first vets worldwide to sit the inaugural DABVP examinations in this specialty. Dr Vella has gained extensive clinical experience in treating exotic pets having focussed on this field whilst working in the United Kingdom and Sydney.
Currently volunteering for NSW WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service), Dr Vella is involved in reptile and amphibian rescue. He also trains in handling, rehabilitation, foster care and rescue. Pets at home include several long-necked turtles. When not working, he enjoys family time, gardening and music.
Dr Joanne Sheen
BVM&S CertZooMed DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammals)
Jo graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2004, and gained her post-graduate qualification in zoological and exotic medicine in 2008. In 2017 Dr
Sheen became a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in
Exotic Companion Mammals. Only the second Australian vet to achieve these
credentials. Jo had a very international upbringing, growing up between Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. As such, her first pet was a red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), followed by two chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) that she kept on the roof garden. She was most distraught, when several years later, she came home one day to find these chickens turned into soup!
Outside our busy Sydney hospital, you'll often find Jo walking her dog, a talkative English Staffie. He was rescued five years ago whilst Jo was living in the UK from an uncertain fate in an RSPCA animal abuse case. You will also catch Jo spending her time away from work mostly off solid ground, preferring to either hang around in mid-air (trapeze), or in the depths of the ocean (scuba diving).
Dr Michelle Dalli
BSc BVSc (Hons)
Michelle graduated from the University of Sydney in 2005. Michelle has always had a special interest in exotic pets and wildlife, particularly reptiles. Michelle has worked in various small animal practices in and around Sydney and in North America and also ran her own mobile veterinary service for reptiles for about 2 years.
Michelle has worked with Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets since 2010 and is "loving it". Michelle particularly enjoys surgery and the challenges that performing even routine procedures in exotics provides. Michelle has developed a strong interest in exotic companion mammal medicine along side her ongoing love for reptile work. Michelle also treats all types of native wildlife.
In Michelle's 'spare' time, she looks after her two children that share her love for animals. Their pets include dogs, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles and chickens..
Dr Mami Nomiya
BVM ECFVG (AVMA)
Mami graduated from the Nihon University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Japan in 1998. In 2013, Dr Nomiya completed the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) program.
Originally from Japan, Mami spent the first 10 years of her professional career working as a small animal vet in Tokyo and has gained vast experience with dogs, cats and exotics companion mammals such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils and mice. Mami joined Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets in 2009.
In her spare time, Mami loves to travel and fell in love with Australia when she first visited. She also loves Australian wildlife and especially Blue-tongued lizards of which she has one as a pet. Mami enjoys spending time with her husband and son. Mami's other passions include snowboarding and skiing and has become quite accomplished since learning these skills since childhood. Mami now has the best of both worlds, traveling back to Japan for the winter snow and living in the Australian sun.
Dr Cathy Hudson
BSc. BVSc. MANZCVS (Unusual Pets)
Dr Cathy Hudson BSc. BVSc. MANZCVS (Unusual Pets) Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1997 from the University of Queensland. After several years in large animal practice and equine specialist practice, she moved to practise veterinary medicine in England for 4 years. Here her interest in small mammals, rabbits and ferrets developed. On returning to Australia, Cathy has completed many further education studies, including a 1 year course in veterinary ophthalmology.
In 2013 she completed her membership exams for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (MANZCVS) in Unusual (Exotic) pets. Cathy has a particular interest in rabbit and small mammal medicine and ophthalmology. She also very much enjoys treating reptile and amphibian patients, as well as native wildlife. She lives in Sydney with her husband and 2 young boys.
Dr Kim Le
Kim graduated from the University of Sydney in 2010 and completed a Masters in Conservation Medicine.
Since graduation Kim has maintained a strong interest in the field of exotics and avian medicine and surgery. Kim has undertaken externships in exotics and wildlife medicine in Minnesota and Louisiana and an internship in Avian and Exotic Medicine at the University of Guelph Canada.
Kim's spare time is spent rock climbing, mountain biking and traveling the world for exotic food!
Dr Alana Shrubsole-Cockwill
BSc(Hons) HonsCert(Sc) DVM MVSc
Alana Graduated from WCVM (Western College of Veterinary Medicine) in 2003. in the beautiful but land-locked prairie province of Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2004 she completed a one-year internship at WCVM in ZEW (zoologic, exotic and wildlife medicine). She loved the ZEW field so much that she continued on to complete a ZEW residency and a Masters in Veterinary Science in 2007 (with a focus on disease survey and health assessment of free-ranging British Columbia sea otters).
She then had a fantastic time at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, where there was a never-ending amount of cheeky owls and stubborn eagles to treat. Alana then moved to Sydney in early 2008 and worked with Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets until late 2012, where she soon learned that Boobook owls began to rival dolphins as her favourite animal. After having a beautiful baby girl in September 2012, Alana and her partner decided to move closer to family in Canada. As many of her clients still ask for her, we'd like to let you know that she is loving family life back home!