Our Team of Experts in Metairie, LA
Gregory A. Rich, BS Medical Technology, D.V.M.
Dr. Gregory Rich is well-known as the local go-to veterinarian for the care and treatment of avian and exotic pets in the Greater New Orleans region and surrounding areas. He graduated from LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, and worked in a small animal practice for 8 years before opening Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana in May of 1993. Over the years, he has owned and successfully bred hedgehogs, Moustache Parrots, and Hawkhead Parrots. He and his wife have been the proud owners of 2 marvelous Australian Shepherds, Shayna and Dolly, that have been in charge of greeting clients and retrieving charts at the clinic.
Dr. Rich is the proud recipient of the 2011 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award amongst numerous others.
Leslie Pence, D.V.M.
Dr. Leslie Pence has been first an intern and then an associate veterinarian at Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana ever since her graduation from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She has dreamed of being a veterinarian ever since she was 4 and brought her stuffed rabbit ("Gerber") to be stitched up at a school fair. Since then she has been strongly involved in the animal field by doing everything from kennel work at local animal shelters, being a foster parent for a cockatiel bird rescue, scooping poop at the zoo, studying parasites in Thailand, helping set up animal shelters after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, rehabilitating injured hawks and owls through LSU's raptor program, and helping rescue oiled pelicans after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She continues her love of wildlife and exotic animals through her daily work with the fantastic staff and clients of Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana.
Dr. Pence went back to school in 2022, at the Chi University, to become a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. She is also continuing to study Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and all the benefits it can offer to her patients, while working on additional TCVM certifications.
She graduated from Mississippi State University in 2005 with a degree in Wildlife Management. She continues working with wildlife frequently through the injured animals brought to the hospital, as well as lecturing annually for the Wildlife Rehabilitator Basic Skills Class.
Dr. Rich is winner of the Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award, lecturer at many Exotic veterinary conferences, and deeply involved in local area projects. Twenty years have passed and in that time I cannot begin to count the number of rabbits treated there, all with the best of care. My job as a rescuer of rabbits has been made easier with the support of Dr. Rich, Dr. Pence and the Staff.
I have been dealing with the Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic), Dr. Rich and Dr. Pence, since 2006. They are the premier exotics only vet in the Gulf South and one of a small handful that are experienced with chinchillas. Every chinchilla surrendered to us is taken there for a comprehensive wellness check-up. Many have been treated for a variety of conditions, both minor and serious. After having more than 100 chinchillas seen there, I could not be more pleased with the competency, courtesy and caring exhibited by everyone there. Many of our animals are enjoying happier and healthier lives because of Dr. Rich and Dr. Pence.
Tom and Tracey L.
We have been breeders of exotic parrots since 1998. Dr. Rich and staff are our first and only stop to make sure the breeders we buy are healthy. The professionalism of Dr. Rich and his staff far exceed our expectations. Regardless the outcome of the exam we know we can trust the results and advice given by Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic). The clinic is always clean and the staff friendly. We highly recommend all clients set up an appointment to meet Dr. Rich and/or Dr. Pence. Don’t wait until it’s an emergency. Well visits are very important to maintain healthy happy animals. We are very fortunate to have such well respected, professional and caring exotic veterinarians in our area.
Ashley G., DVM
Dr. Rich is the avian expert! The clinic is state of the art, the boarding facility has large, clean cages and the team is very caring. It's with great confidence that I refer my avian patients to Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic).
Karen and Steve M.
My family and I have been associated with Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic) for 14 years now. Dr. Rich has received countless awards for his many accomplishments. He is forward-thinking; always in touch with the latest technology and procedures. His leading edge approach has kept my exotic pets healthy and happy!
Maurice G. and Brenda B.
In June 2013 we opened Bon Temps Ferret Rescue and shortly after contacted Dr. Rich at Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana (formerly West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic). Living almost three hours away, we had questions before making the trip with some of our little ones rescued from various situations. Dr. Rich, Dr. Pence and their staff have taken time to return our calls regardless of what day of the week. We have brought in ferrets with varying degrees of medical needs and have always been served in the most professional and caring manner, not only for the ferrets but for us as well in some critical times."