The Doctor Dolittle of the Upper West Side

Longreads

At the New York Times, Andy Newman covers a day in the life of Dr. Anthony Pilny, veterinarian at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in Manhattan. Dr. Pilny’s practice routinely involves bowel-obstructed bunnies, lame ducks, and feisty, festering iguanas, just to name a few of his pint-sized patients.

The center, on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is the city’s only exclusively exotic animal hospital. “Exotic” in the veterinary trade simply means all pets except cats and dogs. The center treats anything else that comes in the door and weighs under 50 pounds. Most of the patients are rabbits, rodents, lizards or birds, but they can get pretty exotic: kinkajous, alligators, flower horn fish and prairie dogs. So can their problems.

The duck was out cold on the table in a basement operating room, a breathing tube stuck down her bill. Dr. Pilny sliced…

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