2017 Avian Practitioner of the Year

Announcing the 2017 T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year: Michael Lierz, DZooMed, DECZM (WPH), DECPVS is a Full Professor and Director of the Clinic for Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish at the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen.

Article  Client Education Handout 

Emergency Preparedness Plan for Exotic Pets

Get ready now to care for exotic pets during an accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or even loss of life, such as blizzard, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, mud slide, or tornado. This disaster relief client education handout was revised and posted with permission from “Ready-Pets-Go!” by the Humane Society of Greater Rochester.

Brendan Carmel, BVSc, MVS MANZCVS (Unusual Pets) GDipComp

Dr. Brendan Carmel is the owner and Senior Veterinarian at Warranwood Veterinary Centre, which provides care for unusual and exotic pets in Melbourne, Australia. He is the 2017-2018 President of the Unusual Pet and Avian Veterinarians, special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association. Dr. Carmel is also a founding member of both the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. He is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Unusual Pet Medicine and Surgery, an Associate Editor of the Australian Veterinary Journal…


What Parrots Want: The Importance and Use of Foraging and Environmental Enrichment for Birds Post Test

Post test for What Parrots Want: The Importance and Use of Foraging and Environmental Enrichment for Birds webinar.

Article  Video  Webinar 

What Parrots Want: The Importance and Use of Foraging and Environmental Enrichment for Birds

This webinar has been R.A.C.E.-approved for 1 hour of continuing education. Despite parrots being popular pets, much of the information regarding their nutritional and behavioral needs is still unknown. Unlike dogs and cats, most psittacine species are not domesticated and have therefore likely retained most, if not all, of their wild instincts and behavioral needs. In captivity, however, most parrots have little to no opportunity to perform these species-typical behaviors. This will not only reduce their welfare, but can also result in the onset of abnormal repetitive behaviors, including feather damaging behavior, and oral or locomotor stereotypies.

Article  Slideshow 

Bearded Dragon Infectious Disease Slideshow

Inland bearded dragons are native to Australia and are a popular companion animal. Private breeders often select for desirable temperaments and various color morphologies in an effort to provide an ever-increasing variety to the pet trade. They are also bred commercially and sold by large pet retailers making them a widely available pet reptile…

TAMU ZEW Annual Exotic Animal Wetlab

The Lafeber Company Student Program supports the growth of zoological medicine in veterinary medical schools by sponsoring speakers and other educational events.


Avian Respiratory Anatomy, Physiology & Diseases: An Overview Post Test

The Avian Respiratory Tract Overview webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…

The Avian Neurological Exam

As a part of the Lafeber Company Student Program, Dr. Susan Orosz presented an exclusive presentation to the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine Non-Traditional Species Club as a distance learning event. This web-based seminar was recorded…

Nicholas Crossland, DVM, DACVP

Dr. Nicholas Crossland is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. He currently serves as a T32 Post-Doctoral fellow and PhD student at Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana. He has co-authored a variety of veterinary manuscripts including the Veterinary Clinical Pathology article “Nannizziopsis guarroi infection in 2 Inland Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps): clinical, cytologic, histologic, and ultrastructural aspects”

Article  Video  Webinar 

Avian Respiratory Anatomy, Physiology & Diseases: An Overview

The avian respiratory system has several unique and fascinating adaptations for flight that are important to clinicians. This web-based seminar will give an overview of the anatomical features of the avian respiratory tract and discuss the physiology of the respiratory system. Clinical correlates will be pointed out as we go through anatomy and physiology. We will then discuss clinical signs of respiratory disease in birds and how we can use these signs to help us anatomically locate the origin of the problem to the upper respiratory tract, the major airways, the pulmonary parenchyma and coelomic cavity…


A Guide to Nasotracheal Intubation in Rabbits

Rabbit intubation can be accomplished using either an orotracheal or nasotracheal technique. Both intubation methods can be challenging in rabbit patients and require patience and practice. Nasotracheal intubation may be the preferred approach in situations where maximum access and maneuverability is required in the oral cavity. Nasotracheal intubation is also preferred where an extended recovery is expected.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting Problem: Dyspnea in Ferrets

This presenting problem article reviews the basic approach to the dyspneic ferret beginning with clinical signs of the dyspneic ferret, key points of urgent care, as well as case management. This latter section reviews tips on taking the history, performing the physical exam, important differential diagnoses, as well as the diagnostic/therapeutic approach.


Five Common Reptile Emergencies Post Test

The Five Common Reptile Emergencies webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…


Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds Post Test

Categories: Avian, Parrot,
The Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval….


Best Practices: Cytodiagnosis in Exotic Pet Practice Post Test

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Pour les vétérinaires. Par les vétérinaires.

Le site est conçu pour une utilisation par les vétérinaires. Il est ouvert aux vétérinaires diplômés, aux techniciens […]


Quality Exotic Small Mammal Anesthesia Post Test

Quality Exotic Small Mammal Anesthesia was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval….


Anatomy & Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications Webinar Post Test

Anatomy and Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications Webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…


Restraint & Handling of Small Exotic Companion Mammals Webinar Post Test

The Restraint & Handling of Small Exotic Companion Mammals webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education for veterinary technicians and veterinary nurses, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…

Barbara Ambros, DrMedVet, MVetSc, DECVAA

Dr. Ambros is an Associate Professor of anesthesiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). A native of Austria, Dr. Ambros received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Vienna. She completed her MVSc degree and residency in anesthesia at the WCVM before attaining Diplomate status in the European College of […]

Katrina Lafferty, CVT, VTS (Anesthesia/Analgesia)

Katrina Lafferty received her degree in Veterinary Technology in 2005. She earned her veterinary technician specialty (VTS) in Anesthesia in 2009 and is one of less than 200 technicians worldwide to have that designation. Katrina is a Senior Technician in the Anesthesia and Pain Management Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the Director of the Veterinary Technician Student Internship Program at UW-Madison. Katrina is involved in the education of all members of the veterinary community and she has written numerous articles and textbook chapters.


Esophagostomy Tube Placement in Birds

Placement of an enteral feeding tube is a recognized method of supportive care, and the esophagostomy tube is an accepted route that is generally well tolerated by avian patients and relatively easy to place. In clinical patients, esophagostomy tube placement has been described in psittacine birds, raptors, and ostriches.

Esophagostomy tube placement is indicated in cases of severe beak trauma or disease, as well as diseases of the oral cavity or proximal esophagus, such as abscesses and neoplasia. Esophagostomy tubes may also be used to…

Article  Video 

The Parrot Brain On Shapes: Similarities with Human Visual Processing

Objects are often not fully visible in everyday life. Human beings are capable of processing the complex visual information related to “incompleteness” because our visual environment is primarily composed of opaque objects that can overlap and partially hide each other. Scientists believe that many nonhuman species are also able to deal with “incompleteness”…


Anesthesia & Analgesia in Reptiles Course Post Test

The Reptile Anesthesia and Analgesia webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…


2016 Avian Practitioner of the Year

When nominations closed for the 2016 T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year, a list of 19 outstanding avian veterinarians were submitted for consideration. The independent Selection Committee, hosted through Louisiana State University, narrowed the list to five finalists and the Award recipient, Dr. Gregory Rich…

Don Harris, DVM

Dr. Don Harris is the owner of Miami’s first exotics-only veterinary hospital since 1990. Don also serves as a consulting veterinarian for the Miami MetroZoo, Georgia Aquarium Research Center, and Jungle Island. He is on the Advisory Board of Abaxis Veterinary Diagnostics and has served as a Past-President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians…

Irene Pepperberg, PhD

Dr. Pepperberg is a Research Associate and Lecturer at Harvard University working in the field of animal cognition and communication, specifically in African Grey parrots. In 1977, Dr. Pepperberg began her work with Alex, her first Grey parrot research subject. For 30 years, Irene and Alex investigated concepts such as shapes, colors, sizes, and numbers, revolutionizing what the world knows about avian cognition. Following in his footsteps are the Grey parrots, Griffin and Athena. Currently, Dr. Pepperberg’s work is entirely supported by The Alex Foundation.

Article  Webinar 

Spotlight on Anesthesia & Analgesia in Reptiles

This live webinar event was presented by Javier Nevarez, DVM, PhD, DACZM, DECZM (Herpetology). View a recording of Dr. Nevarez’s web-based seminar and earn 1 hour of R.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credit. Lecture objectives include a review of the principles and concepts of reptile analgesia, recommended analgesics, signs of pain and pain recognition, and a review of analgesic protocols. The presentation also reviews principles and concepts of reptile anesthesia, popular anesthetic agents and anesthetic protocols, monitoring, as well as keys to success.

Kirk Klasing, PhD

Dr. Kirk Klasing is a Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California at Davis…

Article  Video  Webinar 

Best Practices: Cytodiagnosis in Exotic Pet Practice

This R.A.C.E.-approved continuing education webinar was presented by Terry Campbell, MS, DVM, PhD. View a recording of this web-based seminar to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. Cytology is a simple, rapid diagnostic procedure requiring little in terms of equipment and cost to the veterinarian. Most clinical veterinarians are familiar with sample collection techniques for domestic mammals; which also apply to the small exotic mammals. Common cytological specimens used in avian and reptilian medicine include: aspirates, imprints of biopsy material, tracheal washes, crop (ingluvies) aspirates or washes in birds, gastric washes in reptiles, sinus aspirates, lung washes in reptiles, aspiration of coelomic fluid, and fecal smears.

Article  Teaching Module 

Basic Rabbit Care Teaching Module

Welcome to LafeberVet’s Basic Rabbit Care Teaching Module! Upon completion of this learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of what defines a rabbit, common rabbit breeds, anatomy and physiology, behavior, restraint and handling, as well as husbandry needs.

Article  Quiz  Slideshow 

Rabbit Anatomy Basics Slideshow

Part of LafeberVet’s Basic Rabbit Care Teaching Module, the Rabbit Anatomy Basics slideshow is a 22-minute recording designed to impart a basic understanding of rabbit anatomy for the veterinary technician and veterinary nurse. This slideshow may also be of use as a basic learning aid for veterinary medical students and as a basic refresher for the clinician.

Bret Meckel, DVM

Dr. Bret Meckel is a Professor and serves as Department Chair for the Veterinary Technology Program at State University of New York in Delhi. Dr. Meckel has worked extensively with exotics during 10 years of private practice and he teaches an Exotic Animal Nursing elective for veterinary technicians interested in exotic animal practice. Dr. Meckel has also developed a study abroad program where veterinary technician students can participate in a 3-week wildlife management program in South Africa.

Article  Slideshow 

Rabbit Breed Basics Slideshow

The domestic or European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, is descended from wild rabbits of Europe and northwestern Africa, where free-ranging Oryctolagus are still found. Rabbits come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. The American Rabbit Breeder Association currently recognizes 49 rabbit breeds, and the number listed by the British Rabbit Council is even higher. Many house rabbits have several different breeds in their background. View this 8-minute slideshow to review common rabbit breeds seen in clinical practice as well as their associated disease predispositions.

Client Education Handout 

Basic Rabbit Care Handout and Infographic

With the help of a handy infographic, this client education handout reviews the basics of a good rabbit diet as well as housing, including “bunny proofing”, and handling.


Call for Nominations: T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year Award

This award is given annually, or at the AAV committee’s discretion, to an outstanding practitioner that has advanced the quality of health care for companion birds.


Pigeon Disease Primer

The “Pigeon Disease Primer” explores important differential diagnoses for common clinical problems observed in pigeons and doves. Although the clinical approach to the columbiform relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all species, many of the infectious diseases of pigeons are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or songbirds.

Dave Rupiper, DVM

Dr. Dave Rupiper is the owner of East Petaluma Animal Hospital in Petaluma, California. In addition to companion birds, he provides professional services for pigeon racing, performing and showing, poultry flocks, ratites, waterfowl collections, and cage bird breeding.


Order Columbiformes: Species and Breeds

Pigeons and doves belong to order Columbiformes and family Columbidae. Within family Columbidae, there are five subfamilies consisting of 42 genera and 308 species. Pigeons and doves are found on every continent except Antarctica, and they live in virtually all types of terrestrial habitats. Columbids tend to be stocky birds with relatively small heads, short beaks, as well as a fleshy cere and a bare ring of skin around the eyes. Columbiforms also tend to have short, squat legs and long keels.


Pigeon Anatomy & Physiology: 15 Facts

Although pigeons and doves are a diverse group of birds, they do share some clinically significant anatomy and physiology, including a large, bilobed crop or ingluvies, crop milk production, as well as a vascular plexus found in the subcutis of pigeons. This post also touches on specialized anatomic features unique to fruit pigeons before summarizing some features of the columbid integumentary system, musculoskeletal system, and urogenital tract.


Pigeon Fancy: Talking the Talk

This practice of pigeon fancy is generally called “pigeon racing” in North America and “pigeon play” in Europe. The principles of pigeon fancy are intricate and there are a variety of vocabulary terms that seem quite mysterious. There is also a history of resistance to veterinary involvement among many pigeon breeders so it can be intimidating for even experienced avian veterinarians to interact with the pigeon fancier.

Madeline Rae, DVM, MS, DABVP (Avian Practice)

Dr. Madeline Rae received her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology in 1981 from Oregon State University and her DVM in 1985 from Oregon State University. After a few years of clinical practice, she returned to academia for a residency in veterinary pathology and a Master’s of Science degree. In 1993, she became certified in Avian Practice, re-certifying in 2003 and 2013. For the last 22 years, she has been the owner of a private diagnostic pathology service focusing on birds, small mammals and reptiles. Madeline has been a reviewer for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery for 20 years and she has presented…

How Did We Get Off the Goo?

Many people have been curious about the way we at International Bird Rescue were able to clean the birds affected by the San Francisco Bay Mystery Goo Spill in January 2015.

Teresa Bradley Bays, DVM, CVA, DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal Practice)

Teresa Bradley Bays, DVM has been a veterinarian at Belton Animal Clinic & Exotic Care Center since 1993 and has been an owner in the practice since 1997. In addition to caring for the dogs and cats of Belton, she is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer on exotic pet species, and recently earned board certification as a specialist in Exotic Companion Mammals. Dr. Bradley Bays is author of many articles, several book chapters and co-editor and co-author of Exotic Pet Behavior: Birds, Reptiles, and Small Mammals. She is a Past-President of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.

Lauren Thielen, DVM

Dr. Lauren Thielen attended Texas A&M University (TAMU) College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, she was awarded the Kaytee Avian and Special Species Award for her interest in and contribution to avian research and medicine…


External Coaptation in Birds: Bandages and Splints

Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…


Feeding the Hospitalized Bird of Prey

All raptors consume a meat-based diet ranging from the specialist diet of the fish-eating osprey (Pandion haliaetus) to a generalist diet that can include insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even carrion. Other than poultry, the exact nutritional requirements of birds are unknown, however the natural raptor diet is always relatively high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Whole prey diets have a calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1 as the bird actually consumes the bones as well as the meat…

Behavior Basics: Clinical Approach to the Rabbit

The approach to a prey species like the rabbit often calls for a profound paradigm shift for clinicians used to dealing only with cats and dogs. Rabbits can stress very easily in a clinical setting and the challenge of managing a small mammal like the rabbit increases exponentially when they are presented for illness or injury.

Christine Higbie, DVM

Dr. Christine Higbie received her DVM from the University of Florida in 2009. Following graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in New Jersey. She then worked as a general practice and emergency veterinarian at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital until 2013, when she completed an internship in zoo medicine at Kansas State University. Christine is currently a resident in zoological medicine at…

David Brust, DVM

David Brust is a 1984 graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinarian Medicine and has been practicing exotic
animal medicine for the last 31 years…