Emergency care includes basic and advanced life support, and treatment of a variety of injuries and illnesses, many exacerbated by poor diet and husbandry. Basic life support follows the same principles as for other traditional pet species, with modifications made for patient size and other anatomic differences. The use of the RECOVER initiative developed by the Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Society (VECCS) has improved response to exotic patients in cardiopulmonary arrest, and will likely lead to better outcomes. Careful handling of critically ill exotic pets includes judicious use of sedation in order to safely acquire diagnostic information and provide treatment. These critical care principles have been used successfully in exotic mammals, birds and reptiles.