The percentage of feline, canine, avian and exotic animal consultations in 1994 was established by means of a survey among veterinary practitioners in the Netherlands. The results from the response to a questionnaire which was sent to companion animal practitioners were compared with those of an at random telephone survey and tested for reliability. Results showed that the cat tended to be the most frequently presented species in companion animal practice in the Netherlands in 1994 (46%), followed by dogs (44%) and birds and exotic animals (10%). In mixed practices these percentages were 40%, 51%, and 9% respectively. From the 'avian and exotic animal' group the following species or orders were the most important: rabbits (32%), rodents (26%), parrots (12%), pigeons (9%), songbirds (9%), ferrets (4%), others (8%). It is concluded that the veterinary curriculum should be adapted to prepare veterinary students to deal with this greater variety in pet animals species and related problems. The need to include exotic animal medicine in resident training programmes is emphasized.