ProProps Developer Dr. Simpson
How did you first become involved in the exotic pet industry and more specifically reptiles?
I have always had an interest in exotics pets. As a young child I had some weird and wonderful pets like Axolotls, newts, lizards and frogs. I was lucky enough to get into Veterinary School and when I graduated I got a job in a great practice that allowed me to develop my interests. That was 18 years ago, I am still here and now I am one of the owners! Initially when I first graduated as a vet I had an interest in diagnostic imaging such as radiology and ultrasonography. I had grand plans of becoming a specialist in this field. At the time I had some Green Tree Frogs in an enclosure in the practice waiting room. A client contacted me asking if I was interested in having her Central Bearded Dragons as she was unable to look after them anymore. I took them and set up the enclosure in our waiting room. Almost immediately I started getting calls from clients asking if I treated reptiles and if so could I have a look at their animals for them. From those early beginnings the case load of reptile and amphibian work has grown tremendously. Now approximately 80% of my clinical work is treating these species. I see upwards of 2,500 reptile and amphibian patients a year.
How did the development of ProProps come about?
I am one of those annoying people who look at things and think
“there must be a better way”!
I had been using standard reptile mouth gags made of stainless steel and brass for a while but did not find them particularly well designed. They never sat in the mouth correctly, kept falling out and just did not do a good enough job. Given this was a tool I used multiple times a day I had been thinking about a better design. I was presenting at a reptile conference in early 2014 and had a chance meeting with Scott Owen from Virides. We got talking about his finger grips and I realized he could turn my designs into reality. He had some great ideas with respect to industrial design, materials and manufacturing. We worked on the product for 6 months going through multiple prototypes until the final designs were completed. What started out as a single tool became two separate designs for snake and lizards/turtles. They have different mouth anatomy so it made sense to have designs that catered for these differences.
Who should use ProProps?
ProProps are designed for both veterinarians who treat reptiles as well as keepers. I am always stressing to keepers the importance of regularly examining their animals to detect any problems early. One of the areas to check is in the mouth for issues such as stomatitis/mouth rot/canker, growths and dental disease. ProProps allow for better visualization in the mouth so there is less chance of missing a problem.
For the reptile veterinarian ProProps not only allow for a more thorough examination but they make it easier to administer oral medications using a syringe, place feeding tubes and position the head when the animal is anesthetized.
Are there more ‘tools’ in the works from you?
I am always looking for new products and ideas! We will be launching a new little tool in the near future that aids getting turtles and tortoises’ mouths open. These animals are not designed to get the mouth open easily, even with a ProProp! For this reason I have had a new tool designed to help with this. I am also working with Virides on some other products for their range to be used in enclosures. Longer term I have some ideas for products more specifically catering to the reptile veterinarian.
What’s your biggest pet peeve about people and the reptiles you see?
That’s an easy one… Dr. Google! I get frustrated when I get an animal in that has obviously been sick for some time and the owners have delayed bringing it in to see me because they have been self-treating based on something they read on the internet. Often the information they have found or been given on some online forum or Facebook page is incorrect. In even worse cases it causes more harm than good. The delay in bringing their animal in to me can be the difference between saving the animal or it dying. It staggers me the amount of misinformation that gets circulated… often with no scientific reasoning behind it!
Thanks to Dr. Simpson and ProProps we are actually giving away one snake ProProps kit and one lizard ProProps kit over on our Facebook FanPage!