Meet Dr Michelle Dalli, who has worked alongside Dr David Vella at Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets since 2010. VetPrac is excited to have Michelle as an educator at the upcoming VetPrac Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry workshop on April 27-29. Let’s get to learn what excites Michelle about working with rabbits.

What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto specialise in exotics and wildlife?
From as early as I can remember I loved animals and always wanted to work with animals as an adult. I had lots of different pets including exotics and wildlife as a child and adult which reinforced this desire. Then through my Veterinary degree I continued to develop my desire to work with wildlife and exotics and so when I graduated I started working with them as I had an interest, and developed skills and knowledge by self-learning and with the help of awesome colleagues like David Vella.

What is it about rabbit surgery and dentistry that you enjoy the most?
I love the satisfaction we get when we do surgery on rabbits that have quite severe disease processes and then respond well to treatment. It’s so exciting when you see a rabbit start eating after surgery!

What have you learned from experience that you didn’t learn from a textbook? What practical advice would you offer fellow vets?
There is so much I have learned from both experience and advice from colleagues it’s hard to put it all down! I have learned that even though they are different from the usual cats and dogs most veterinarians see the knowledge we have can be applied so easily once the basics are understood. The practical advice I would give would be to get competent at anaesthesia and aftercare of exotic species and train your nurses to be competent as well. Learn the common diseases that exotic species get and different therapies, and be honest to clients about your experience; I find that they really appreciate honesty.

Any advice for new grads who lack confidence in performing surgery or dentistry on rabbits? What about general practitioners that wish to pursue further education in rabbit surgery and dentistry?
The only way to get better is to do it. For new grads everything is new and so asking for advice and giving things a try is sometimes the only way to gain experience. If a new grad is keen to do exotics and becomes experienced in a clinic it usually doesn’t take long for them to be doing all of them. The VetPrac courses are an ideal way to gain skills and practise them with guidance from experienced vets as well as conferences for vets who want further education, or spending time with an experienced exotics vet.

What do you like to do to wind down? What do you like to do for fun?
Gardening, building things around my home, bushwalking, camping with my family, cycling, listening to music and more gardening.

Thanks Michelle for sharing your passion for exotics. We look forward to having 3 days of fun with you at the VetPrac workshop.

Register TODAY for the VetPrac Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry Workshop, and you’ll not only get to share more of Michelle’s experience, but also that of Dr David Vella and Dr Narelle Walter.
Contact information:
Michelle Dalli
Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets
64 Atchison St, St Leonards NSW 2065
02 94364884
Email: [email protected]

Written by Alison Caiafa