When you get a pet, you enter a secret club. You are united with other pet owners, trading tricks and stories, exchanging names of doctors and breeders, worrying together over your pets' propensity to chew on the houseplants and make a bid for freedom every time you open the front door. Suddenly, a thick wall separates you from the rest of humanity, who just don’t understand your concerns. And that is quite true – you have responsibilities to another being now, and one that is entirely dependent on you.
Pets bring their share of joy and trouble, with the joys frequently overshadowed by the troublesome parts. This is doubled if you have an exotic animal such as a snake or a rare bird, because veterinary care is more difficult to find, as are specialised food and suitable cages. Bulgaria has not paid much attention to the regulation of pet trade and the provision for the animals, so you would be well advised to check with some of the animal protection organisations, which can supply you with tips for the registration and care for the pet.
They can also save you legal trouble if you are setting out to acquire a pet. Bulgaria has been gaining a reputation as a channel for trafficking in rare species recently, both as their source and destination. Some threatened species such as the tortoise are very strictly regulated, which means that any free trade in them is suspicious and you should request documents of origin. Selling hedgehogs is forbidden altogether. Be cautious when getting a pet at animal markets, where sellers often have no documents for the pets, since fines can go up to five thousand leva. Even in animal shops there are sometimes pets without certificates, so avoid buying these.
As soon as the pet changes hands, register it with a passport. This is done by a licensed vet, who can also implant a chip at your request – but from 2012 the chip is obligatory for dogs.
Another problem to consider is taking good care of the pet's needs. When out of their element, animals should have special attention paid to their diet and growth. Some may require vitamins and nutritional supplements to keep their bright fur colours or plumage, and grooming should be done by animal care experts or vets in cases of cutting claws and cleaning ears. Teeth are vital for the good health of the animal, and keeping the pet on a certain diet not encountered in nature may damage them irrevocably. Together with all other health issues that need regular monitoring, it is essential that you find a good vet whom you can trust.
In the Sofia centre, Dr Andonova's veterinary clinic is a place where you find everything your pet needs: from de-fleeing and vaccinations to laboratory diagnostics and even homeopathy. There you can have your dog chipped and registered and his fur cut, or just ask for a second opinion in diagnostics and treatment of an illness. Dr Andonova will advise you also on the documents needed if you want to travel with your pet in Bulgaria and abroad, and offers home visits to sick patients.
Exotic animals are difficult to take care of, but the staff of the Central Vet Clinic doesn’t even turn a hair. With the Sofia Zoo as one of their partners they are used to anything from penguins, exotic birds and primates to tigers and antelopes. The diverse patients come because of the experienced surgeons, orthopedic and cardiologic specialists. This is the biggest clinic on the Balkans and it is equipped accordingly with digital X-ray and ultrasound for diagnostics, surgical units to accommodate invasive procedures, as well as specialised software for recording and tracking the patients' history. If your pet needs urgent care, the clinic can assist with a mobile team and an ambulance, and the range of medical procedures includes innovative ones such as pelvic joint replacement, transplantation of cat kidneys, pacemakers and stents for heart conditions.
The regular visits to the vet might be a nightmare for your pet, which always tries to slink away from the collar or cage at home as if foreseeing the future procedures. You can mitigate a lot of the pain and discomfort for the animal by choosing a caring specialist. The professionals at BiVet clinic treat your pet as a patient requiring respect, and you get quality service on all aspects of pet care, including diagnostic tests, dental check-ups, vaccinations and surgeries. Ask away if you have any questions on treatment, feeding and prophylaxis – the vets will advise you in a blink.
Taking your pet with you on travel is often quite difficult and causes unnecessary stress for the animal, but with the services of Bulgarian Animal Transport it can enjoy a comfortable trip. The company holds IATA certificate for air transport and is a member of the IPATA network of pet shipping experts, upholding high standards and care for the animals.