Aquarium Holds Workshop For International Veterinary Students

August 26, 2008

The workshop focused on specialties of fish medicine

The Oregon Coast Aquarium hosted 15 students and veterinarians from around the world last week in a special two day workshop focusing on veterinary medicine of “exotics” including a lecture and hands-on training. The students came from Mexico, Germany, England, Holland, Switzerland and the US (Oregon and California).

The workshop was the culmination of an intense, three week Zoo, Exotic and Wildlife (ZEW) Club Workshop run by Dr. Modesto McClean at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. The workshop focused on the specialties of veterinary medicine offering veterinary students a chance to participate in daily zoo work, demos, lectures and field trips. The intent is to interest, educate, motivate, and share the areas of zoo, aquatic, and wildlife medicine. The workshop was led by Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, Oregon Sea Grant's ornamental aquaculture specialist.

Oregon Sea Grant's Ornamental Fish Health Program, under the leadership of Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, provides educational programming and service to the aquarium industry and aquarium hobbyists to help them successfully rear and care for creatures in aquarium or pond environments. The Ornamental Fish Health Program at HMSC became involved with the ZEW workshop two years ago when Dr. McClean asked Dr. Miller-Morgan if he would be willing to add one day of fish medicine lecture and hands-on training to the workshop.

“That effort, in which 12 students and veterinarians from Europe and Mexico participated was very well received,” said Miller-Morgan. “I was asked to add another day to the fish class to expand the educational experience, so I approached Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium about adding the shark lab. Burke responded to the request with enthusiasm and this year it was implemented.

The two-day workshop covered fish anatomy and physiology, water quality testing, management and life support systems, examination techniques for fish and troubleshooting life support systems. Interactive laboratories included fish capturing, handling, sedation, examination, blood collection, water quality testing and interpretation, case diagnosis and problem solving, water management, life support assessment of small recirculating systems and a shark lab.

“There was a lot to cover in two days and these students were very excited about the seminar and gave it glowing reviews,” said Miller-Morgan. “In fact, many students requested that we add a third day next year to include common diseases and more hands-on experience.”

The following week the group came back up from the Wildlife Safari to the Aquarium and worked with Dr. Steven Brown, Aquarium Head Veterinarian. This session included the weekly veterinary inspection in which the veterinarians observed and discussed the health status of all the birds and mammals with Aquarium husbandry staff. Dr. Brown also presented them with some on the challenges that one is faced with when dealing with wild animals. “This has been a great opportunity for the Aquarium and for the international veterinarians,” said Burke. “We hope to inspire them and learn from their diverse level of experience.”