An avian veterinarian is a veterinarian who specializes in treating birds. To become a specialist in this area, these doctors went through many years of training beyond veterinary school and then passed tests to demonstrate their advanced knowledge of these unique patients.
Everything is different with birds. Avian patients have different anatomy, behavior, diets, diseases and life spans than your typical dog and cat. The veterinarians who focus on these beautiful animals must do everything different than their small animal counterparts. From the way they handle their patients in the exam room to the medications they use to help their patients recover, these veterinarians practice a unique type of medicine
Dr. Rhoda Stevenson is a specialist. She is one of approximately 130 veterinarians certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as an avian specialist. And although she has practiced over 20 years at the Exotic Bird Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, she didn’t start out thinking she would be a doctor who cares for birds. “It just something that happened. I was actually interested in being a pathologist and that’s what I had in mind when I went into vet school.” Dr. Stevenson explains. “It was when I got out of veterinary school and did an internship that I was introduced to birds. I thought they were so interesting and so different.”
She believes her experience is an important lesson for future veterinarians. “The one thing I love about being a veterinarian is you never know where you are going to go with it. You have all kinds of options open to you. All you need is that interest.”
“The one thing I love about being a veterinarian is you never know where your are going to go with it. You have all kinds of options open to you. All you need is that interest.”
Dr. Marnie Knight will tell you that veterinary medicine has been her life calling. “All I remember is since I was three I wanted to a veterinarian. I just always loved animals and wanted to be around them.” She adds “I knew I wanted to be a vet before I could even say the word.” As she grew older, she cared for her family’s dogs and budgies and “whatever I could catch in the yard”. When she was older she got a horse and continue to own horses all through veterinary school.
Today, Dr. Floyd lives her dream by caring for exotic animal patients. What does she like most about practicing vet medicine? “Really its the pleasure of being with the animals. Not everybody gets to be around parrots, touch a tortoise, hold a snake or get bunny kisses. Its just a pleasure be around these animals and help them feel better. It fulfills me and helps me feel good on the inside.”
In this film, you go behind the scenes and follow Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Floyd as they treat their avian patients. You will also see them treating other special animals such as reptiles and small mammals. These types of animals each have their own unique needs and conditions that must be considered by these special veterinarians.