118.758 Avian Medicine (15 credit)

Lecturer: Brett Gartrell BVSc PhD MANZCVS(Avian Health)

Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) Avian medicine course aims to develop your interest and knowledge of the medicine and surgery of birds, both wild and captive.

Please note: Courses are revised following each offering. Details of content and assessment are subject to change between offerings.

What will you learn?

On this course you will learn:

  • to confidently and competently undertake avian clinical examination, radiography and anaesthesia
  • choose tests, collect diagnostic samples, and perform necropsies for any clinical presentation in bird medicine
  • to identify common avian diseases and apply problem solving strategies to prioritise conditions in individual or flocks of birds
  • about the choices for diagnostic, therapeutic and management procedures, including referral if indicated
  • to administer treatments and perform common surgical procedures.

The learning materials and lecturer facilitated discussions, will help you maximise your learning.

 How the course works

This course is taught via distance learning (you may know it as continuing education, distance education or continuing professional development) by a recognised international expert in his field.

The course uses:

  • selected readings from the literature chosen by Brett to support your learning
  • discussion forums to debate issues and clarify concepts in a supportive learning community.

Your lecturer

Brett is an avian veterinarian with 15 years of clinical experience in the care of captive and wild birds and reptiles. He has worked in private veterinary practice gaining Membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Avian Health. He gained his PhD in Zoology researching bird reproduction and nutrition in Tasmania, Australia. Brett now runs the avian and wildlife clinic at Wildbase, Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, provides diagnostic services and husbandry advice to the New Zealand Department of Conservation and teaches in veterinary science and ecology. He is keenly interested in the conservation of endangered birds and reptiles.

 Course features

In-depth part-time study 24 teaching weeks spread over a 7-8 month period

Learning materials and facilities

  • Lecturer-authored notes
  • Study guide
  • Electronic library access
  • 3 day workshop: face-to-face as well as streamed online  

Learning community

  • Online case discussion facilitated
  • Social forum


  • Online case assessments
  • Case report assignment
  • Paper-based exam in a centre near you

Course requirements

  • Internet access: high speed (broadband) internet access is required for this course to enable you to access online content with ease.


Cost for international students

The fees for each 15-credit course in 2019 are NZ$6746.  Note: fees are revised annually.

*Please note, all prices are approximate based on recent exchange rates and are quoted excluding Goods and Services Tax. Additional non-tuition fees also apply which vary from approx NZD$195-400.

DOMESTIC students:

Fees for domestic students are subsidised by the NZ government. See fees information for domestic students.


contact WORKSHOP (contact course)

There will be a 3 day on-campus workshop held at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. This will build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. 

The contact workshop is an opportunity for face-to-face time with your class and lecturer. Together you can build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. In 2019 the contact workshop will run on the same dates as the Reproduction course.  This format provides a great opportunity for you to meet students and staff from other courses within the MVM programme. 

For the best contact workshop experience we recommend that you attend in person. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course. If you can’t make it in person you will be able to join some (non-practical) sessions live via the internet (we endeavour to record these sessions for review, but are unable to guarantee the quality of the recording).

Dates and timings*

Enrolments open 1 October 2017
Course start 26 February 2018
Exam period 29 October – 14 November 2018
Course end 14 November 2018

*Please note: You can still apply for enrolment after the due dates above.
Places cannot be assured after these due dates; but late applications will be considered as long as remaining places are available.
If you have any questions please check with the MVM office to see if you can still enrol.

You may also be interested in online oiled wildlife response training.  This course is available for both veterinarians and non-veterinarians

Massey University

In 2018 Massey University celebrated 55 years of veterinary education.

Read more about the qualifications and courses in the MVM programme, how to enrol and fees, our supportive distance learning community and key dates and timing.


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