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Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital



Four weeks, full-time veterinary student externship in an exotic animal hospital. The externship program/preceptorship is structured by week to allow students the opportunity to not only work with and see exotic animal cases, but also to learn the different strategies necessary to effectively practice exotic animal medicine. Each week will focus on a particular aspect of exotic animal practice:

Week #:
1) The physical exam. This will cover handling, restraint and focal points of the physical exam of small mammals, reptiles and bird species.
2) Identifying husbandry issues. A focus will be made on both knowledge of specific animal requirements (i.e. heating issues with reptiles, diet of lagomorphs, light cycles of avian species) and interviewing the owner/client for information critical to making an accurate diagnosis.
3) Common metabolic/non-infectious disease conditions. A basic review of common issues of captive exotic pets, such as metabolic bone disease of reptiles and rodents, hypovitaminosis A in birds, inflammatory bowel disease in ferrets, commonly seen neoplastic diseases, and other husbandry, age and genetically related pathologies.
4) Common infectious diseases. A summary of commonly seen infectious diseases in exotic animal practice, covering ophthalmic, dermal, gastrointestinal, respiratory, reproductive, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems.
5) Clinical pathology and cytology of exotic animals: Interpretation and diagnostic limitations of clinical pathological findings, including chemistry panels, complete blood counts and special testing. An overview of blood, swab and aspirate cytologies as an adjunct to diagnoses will also be covered.
6) Anesthesia and analgesia. This is intended to help the student identify pain in the exotic animal, understand how to alleviate and treat it, and a brief review of surgical anesthetic techniques and monitoring parameters.
7) Exotic animal surgery. The student will gain an appreciation for common surgical conditions and techniques in small mammals, avian and herpetological species, covering both orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries.

Modification of the program will occur with externships that are to be less than 6 weeks, with some weeks covering truncated, combined topics, and some topics may be excluded.

The goal of this program is simple: To expose and familiarize the student to exotic animal medicine and practice, while reveling in the delights and enjoyment of private practice. There is no intent to use the student as "free labor" and abuse their student status. The student, however, has to enter in to this program with the recognition that they are there to learn, will be challenged daily, and that the offerings of techniques and procedures to perform will be based on their openness and ability to learn over the course of the program. Successful completion of this program will require the student to research and read outside of the normal daily routine, much as "real life" requires in a practice setting. In addition, the student is instructed to enjoy themselves, as exotic animal practice is both challenging and fun, and without that aspect, it merely becomes labor.

Institutional Resources

The practice is well equipped to deal with most any exotic animal condition:
Ultrasonography/Echocardiography, Endoscopy/Celioscopy, Radiology (with possible upgrade to digital in near future), Dental, Medical/Surgical, full in-house laboratory and intensive care equipment are all installed within the facility.

Educational Resources

Journals, library, twice weekly rounds


The student will have regular, daily, responsibilities:

a) The student, at all times, will dress, act and speak professionally and will not represent abilities or knowledge inaccurately.
b) The student will always act as an advocate for the animal and will strive to do the best as appropriate for each individual to alleviate disease, pain and suffering.
c) The student will arrive at opening time each morning to assist the technicians and receptionists admit drop-off patients for treatments and/or surgeries. The daily hours of responsibility of the student will otherwise mirror that of the clinician and completion will be determined by the caseload and demands of the day.
d) The student will review each in-house patient each morning, and all laboratory results received overnight and throughout the day. The student will report findings, changes and interpretations to the clinician at rounds each morning and as necessary over the day.
e) The student will triage wildlife cases being admitted to the hospital and will report immediately to the clinician any findings that may need immediate attention. At no point will the student endanger his or her self in an attempt to triage and if the student feels there is a concern, will defer this responsibility to the clinician.
f) The student will attend all emergency cases within reason and deemed necessary by the clinician and provide assistance as needed.
g) The student will attend and assist (as abilities allow) the technician and clinician in as many cases appropriate. The clinician will regularly query the student as to their knowledge and assessment of the case. These queries will be extensions of the weekly subject reviews (stated above).
h) The student will have the same responsibilities to the patient as both the clinician and the technician. This is to mean that there are no duties outside of their range, including administering a medication, cleaning a cage, ausculting a chest, aspirating a mass, querying an owner, or any other procedure necessary to veterinary medicine. Duties will be determined based on abilities, training, skill, comfort level, but not excluding legal limitations as placed by governmental agencies.

At the end of the program, the goal is that the student will prepare a case or techniques report for publication within one of the exotic animal journals (AAV, ARAV, AEMV, Exotic DVM, etc.). Publication selection will depend on the relevant species and topic, and upon completion/submission/acceptance, the student will receive travel expense reimbursement from the practice and any remuneration available from the publishing journal. Any reasonable costs incurred in the course of publication will be covered by the practice.

The expected commitment of the student is approximately 50-55 hours per week, not including independent study. The practice is open two days per week from 9 to 5, three days per week from 9 to 6, and one day per week 9 to 4, with time out for lunch each day for a total of 47 hours per week. Additionally, the clinic offers emergency services available at all other times, usually occupying 5 hours per week.

Student Supervision

The student will be evaluated both subjectively and objectively. Preparedness for rounds, weekly meetings and the case or techniques report will all form a portion of the objective evaluation. Subjectively, the student will be assessed on their professionalism, willingness to participate in procedures, interactions with clientele, and their ability to apply new knowledge and training. In addition to these items, students will also be assessed for their presentation, promptness, attention to detail, and ability to see to a task's completion.


Yes, a nominal fee is collected to cover utility expenses.

Practice Information

Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital
11401 NE 195th St.
Bothell, WA 98011

Ph: 425-486-9000
Fax: 425-486-9002


Updated: 11/09/10
Signature on File: Adolf Maas, DVM

Bothell, WA
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