Welcome to Topics in Avian
This course is designed to introduce veterinary students to clinical
avian medicine, and is recommended for students who are planning to enter
small or mixed animal practices.
Interest in avian medicine is expanding exponentially. In fact, in the
year 2003, approximately 15-25 million exotic birds were owned as pets
within the United States.
Why study birds?
There are numerous beneficial reasons to consider this course of study
for veterinary professionals.
- Avian Medicine is interesting!! And many of the patients and owners
are also very intriguing and captivating. The potential vocabulary and
cognitive skills of some our avian species have in fact, so intrigued
researchers, that they have devoted their time and energy to this one
area of specialty!
- Economics. The math is simple. The more species that you are able
to treat + more clientele=$$ added revenue to a clinical practice.
- Career enhancement. As the number of pet birds rises, the demand for
those skilled in avian medicine also increases. Numerous job advertisements
currently request those candidates that are trained both in small animal,
as well as exotics. Basically, it makes good business sense.
- Environmental significance. Based on the "canary in the coal-mine,"
theory, birds may be the first indicators of problems in our environment.
Having the skills to triage an injured or sick bird, prior to release
to a rehabilitator, may help in the overall population of a species.
Course activities will depend on the particular clinical caseload at
the time of the rotation, but will include management of outpatient and
hospitalized avian patients, possible field service calls to aviculture
collections, participation in rounds discussions, clinical pathology,
radiology and special procedures labs.
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At the conclusion of the study, the student should be able to:
1. Identify common psittacine (parrot) species
2. Obtain a complete avian history
3. Demonstrate proper capture, restraint, and physical examination methods
for different avian species
4. Know how to collect routine diagnostic samples, including venipuncture
and microbial samples.
5. Demonstrate skill in performing treatment procedures, including IM
injections, tube feeding and subcutaneous fluid therapy
6. Demonstrate skill in applying bandages in birds, including Figure-of-eight
bandages, wing-body wrap bandages, and toe and foot bandages
7. Demonstrate skill in placement of intraosseous catheters, airsac cannulas
(avian), and endotracheal tubes
8. Evaluate hematology samples, perform estimated white blood counts and
white blood cell differentials on the blood smears
9. Evaluate fecal Gram stains, fecal floatation, and direct fecal smears
10. Determine which clinical pathology tests to use, what samples to collect,
interpret the laboratory results and explain their relevance to each clinical
11. Set up and take good quality radiographs and interpret radiographs
of common infectious and non-infectious problems seen in birds and reptiles
12. Anesthetize patients and monitor and regulate their depth of anesthesia
13. Develop effective oral and written communication skills through observation
of faculty clinicians, acceptance and solicitation of feedback from clinicians,
and incorporation of suggestions into practice.
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Page last updated
December 10, 2003