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Agricultural Careers. Avian Veterinarian. By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Jennie Simpson Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Georgia Department of Education June 2005. START. What Is an Avian Veterinarian?.

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Agricultural Careers

Avian Veterinarian

By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Jennie Simpson

Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office

Georgia Department of Education

June 2005



What Is an Avian Veterinarian?

  • Avian Veterinarians work primarily with either ornamental (pet) birds or poultry.
  • A certified avian veterinarian is one who has obtained certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) to practice exclusively on the species of birds.
  • Diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of diseases are major concerns for avian veterinarians.
  • A pet bird practice can involve large aviaries, but most pet bird work is performed for individuals who own one bird or a small collection of ornamental birds.

Duties of an Avian Veterinarian

  • Perform surgery, dress wounds, and set broken bones.
  • Diagnose and vaccinate avian diseases.
  • Advise animal owners about the care and breeding of birds.
  • Inspect animals intended for consumption, both before and after they are slaughtered.
  • Teaching or conducting research on animal and human diseases.

Becoming an Avian Veterinarian

  • An avian veterinarian must enjoys working with birds and be able to deal with pets and their owners.
  • One must be patient and perceptive with sound business skills.
  • Some work will be done with groups of people while some will be done individually so the ability to work in either environment is needed.
  • One must also be able to work quickly and efficiently.


  • Prospective veterinarians must graduate from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree and obtain a license to practice.
  • Applicants to vet school must pass the Veterinary College Admissions Test, the Medical College Admission Test, or the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Subscribe to journals of veterinary medicine to increase general knowledge.
  • Participate in clubs such as 4-H where you can participate in Poultry judging and other avian projects.
  • Work a summer or part-time job as an assistant to an avian veterinarian.


  • Median annual earnings of veterinarians were $63,090 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $49,050 and $85,770. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $123,370.
  • The average annual salary for veterinarians in the Federal Government in non-supervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was $72,208 in 2003.
  • Employment of veterinarians is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012.
  • As pets are increasingly viewed as a member of the family, pet owners will be more willing to spend increasing amounts on advanced veterinary medical care, creating more demand for veterinarians.

Related Careers

  • Animal Nutritionist
  • Animal Scientist
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Zoologist

Career Resources

American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

530 Church Street, Suite 700

Nashville, TN, 37219


American Veterinary Medical Association

1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100

Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4360