Specialist bird vets are not common. It is difficult and takes many years of training to become a specialist bird vet. Most Avian specialists spend about 5 years post graduate studying before they undertake the bird specialist vet exam. While any veterinarian can be expected to treat a sick bird in an emergency situation, many vets prefer working with species with which they are more familiar and will refer birds to bird vet clinics, such as Bird Vet Melbourne, that are specifically set up to handle bird patients and whose Avian Vet staff have post-graduate qualifications in Bird Medicine and Surgery.
To train to become a specialist bird veterinarian, the bird clinic or avian hospital needs to be modern and well equipped. Bird Vet Melbourne in Burwood has the facilities required to train future bird vet specialists. Some equipment include a dedicated X-ray room with digital x-rays, a dedicated bird isolation ward – in the bird vet clinic, Endoscopic equipment suitable for avian use. Micro surgical instruments and magnification for the intricate detail that si need for specialist avian surgery.
In Australia there are two recognised levels of training/ examination & post graduate qualifications in Bird Medicine: Fellowship (FANZCVS) or Membership (MANZCV) in the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Legally, only a veterinarian with the qualification FANZCVS is entitled to call them-self a ‘Specialist in Bird Medicine’. Dr Pat Macwhirter is the only veterinarian in Victoria who holds this qualification a Bird Specialist or Avian specialist. Dr Phil Sacks and Dr Michelle Sutherland both have MANZCVS post graduate bird vet degrees and are avian veterinarians. and Dr Sutherland has nearly completed a 2.5 year training program that will entitle her to undertake Bird Medicine specialist examinations to become a specialist Avian Vet.