How to introduce avian and exotic patients to your practice (Proceedings)


How to introduce avian and exotic patients to your practice (Proceedings)

Oct 01, 2008

Deciding to open your practice to seeing avian and exotic patients is definitely a great idea. Avian and exotic pets are growing in numbers and people are just as, and sometimes even more attached to them as others are to their pet dogs and cats. They are committed owners who can easily be trained to see the benefit of preventive wellness care. They are also often seeking very high levels of advanced medical and surgical care and they add a wonderful variety to your day! I'd like to introduce you to what I'd recommend for continuing education, resources, facilities, equipment, advertising and species-specific points of interest.

Continuing Education

Very few veterinary schools have coursework on avian and exotic animals. If you are a veterinary student, I would recommend doing a 2-4 week externship at an exclusively avian and exotic practice. If you are already graduated, there are several meetings a year that have a high concentration of avian and exotic lectures all in one place. This will be the first year that the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) are held together. This year's meeting will be in Milwaukee, WI August 8-15, 2009. The North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) is held annually in Orlando, Fl. NAVC has entire section devoted to avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery. This year's conference is January 17-21st , 2009. All of these meetings have a collection of top lecturers in the field. They also often have wetlabs where you can obtain hands-on experience with a wide variety of species. Please visit the websites for these organizations for more information and detailed meeting topics. Also, it is a great idea to join these organizations. Their memberships are not very expensive and have a wealth of information to share via newsletters and journals.







Yes, we are all sometimes weary at the plethora of information that clients bring to us from the internet. However, there really are some fantastic resources for veterinarians who see avian and exotic patients on the internet. Veterinary Information Network (VIN) has message boards for aquatic, avian, small exotic mammal and reptile medicine. There are also two listserves that provide a tremendous wealth of information and input on cases from some of the top people in the world. One is ExoticDVM. This listserve is a yahoo groups list. It is limited to veterinarians and veterinary students only. You need to sign up for a yahoo email address if you don't already have one. After that, you can request membership to the group by going to and doing a search for "ExoticDVM" and follow the instructions for joining. This is a very active list which often has 10-15 emails per day. The group is very friendly in general and extremely helpful when you are stuck on a case, need help identifying a species or just need support or advice on avian and exotic practice in general. The other helpful active listserve is birdmed. This list originates from Australia and is limited to avian medicine discussions. This group is also extremely friendly and helpful. A request to join the group can be sent to

Written Material Resources

Whether you have been seeing avian and exotic patients for awhile, or are new to the field, you can learn a lot from the Exotic DVM bimonthly magazine. There are sections on husbandry, surgery techniques, practice tips and case reports.