Certificate in Avian Wildlife Healthcare (Veterinarian) (Level 7)

If you are a qualified Veterinarian who is being presented with sick or injured avian wildlife, this programme will give you the skills to administer medicine and/or surgery. You will graduate with the ability to provide optimal standards of welfare and outcomes for avian wildlife patients, plan and manage anesthesia, manage medical diseases, and perform diagnostics and surgical procedures on avian wildlife patients.

About the programme

Are you a qualified Veterinarian who is increasingly being presented with injured or sick avian wildlife during your daily practice? 

This course, offered in collaboration with the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, is the only one of its kind in New Zealand aimed at Veterinarians and offers a unique and specialised development opportunity. 

Learning mainly online, you’ll be able to gain skills and knowledge in avian wildlife healthcare, with a focus on medicine and/or surgery. Content will include avian anatomy and physiology; trauma procedures and supportive care; post-mortem and pathophysiology; soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery; and contextual aspects of law and ethics. 

A five-day practical placement at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, one of New Zealand’s only specialist avian healthcare provider, will enable you to get some fantastic hands-on practice. 

Graduates will have the skills, knowledge and capabilities to:

  • Ensure optimal standards of welfare and outcomes for avian wildlife patients
  • Plan and manage anaesthesia for avian wildlife patients
  • Manage medical diseases in avian wildlife patients
  • Perform diagnostics and diagnostic imaging and interpret results for avian wildlife patients, and
  • Perform surgical procedures on avian wildlife patients.


You’ll do five foundational, compulsory courses, totalling 40 credits. 

Course Name Description Credits
Course 1  Avian Wildlife: Health Introduction and Triage for Veterinarians

Learn how to provide species appropriate husbandry under the appropriate legal and ethical frameworks and to determine initial diagnostic and supportive care requirements for avian wildlife.

> Interpret legal and ethical frameworks in relation to avian wildlife healthcare.

> Apply knowledge of anatomical and physiological features, nutritional ecology and husbandry to veterinary clinical practice in a range of avian wildlife species.

> Plan veterinary care for the supportive care of avian wildlife patients.


Course 2 Avian Wildlife: Anaesthesia

Learn how to safely and effectively anaesthetise avian wildlife patients.

> Create a plan to safely anaesthetise and effectively monitor avian wildlife patients. 

Course 3 Avian Wildlife: Wildlife Hospital Practicum for Veterinarians

Demonstrate and reflect on the common clinical procedures, diagnostic imaging and surgery techniques required to be carried out in hospitalised avian wildlife patients.

> Perform common clinical and surgical procedures undertaken by veterinarians for hospitalised avian wildlife patients.

> Perform radiographic and endoscopic procedures for diagnosis in a clinical environment for avian wildlife patients. 

> Critically reflect on development of clinical skills in the avian wildlife context. 

Course 4 Avian Wildlife: Diagnostic Imaging and Surgery 

Utilise diagnostic imaging and surgical techniques effectively in avian wildlife patients. 

> Evaluate the application of a range of diagnostic imaging methods for avian wildlife species. 

> Evaluate the application of common soft tissue surgical procedures for avian wildlife patients. 

> Evaluate common orthopaedic surgical procedures for avian wildlife patients. 

Course 5 Avian Wildlife: Diseases and Clinical Pathology

Effectively manage avian wildlife diseases. 

> Plan the diagnosis, treatment and management of a range of avian wildlife diseases. 

> Evaluate haematological, biochemical and cytological responses to physiological and pathological conditions for avian wildlife patients. 

> Evaluate post-mortem procedures for avian wildlife species.




Practical placement

A five-day practical placement will be held sometime during November to February to coincide with the busy season. This will give you a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills. 

A surgical practicum in Dunedin will be arranged once class numbers are ascertained for the surgical elective. 

Please note: This session will be coordinated by you and your tutor as only one to two students can be accommodated at one time. This will ensure the best experience for each student. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.