Scan the QR code using the  NZ COVID Tracer app when you enter campus.

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 course notes
  • Study guide
  • Electronic library access
  • 3 day workshop: face-to-face or online option for some sessions  

Learning community

  • MVM Commons community site
  • Online case discussion facilitated
  • Social forum


  • 2 online tests
  • Case report assignment
  • Online final examination (remote proctoring)

Course requirements

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


Brett Gartrell

"Just wanted to say it was awesome meeting everyone (well, nearly everyone) at the contact course. It's nice to have faces to put with the postings now!! Thanks also to Brett (and Linda and co). The course was fantastic!"

"The course has been the highlight of my veterinary year and I've enjoyed it immensely - a big thanks for all the effort you have put in to have created such a stimulating course and to have steered it so well.  I'll be strongly recommending it to anyone who has an interest in avian/exotic medicine."

contact WORKSHOP information

There will be a 3 day on-campus workshop held at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. 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.

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 October 2019
Course start February 2020
Contact Workshop Check dates here
Exam period October – November 2020
Course end November 2020

*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.

For more information on delivery and cost please visit the Massey University course site (detailed offering information for 2020 courses will be available from October 2019).

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey