Small flock poultry medicine workshop for Ontario veterinarians

OAHN Poultry network project 2018-2019: Small flock poultry medicine veterinary seminar

In 2018, antimicrobial legislation within Canada underwent some important changes. Antimicrobial medications to treat animals that were previously available for sale over-the-counter to farmers and the public now require a prescription from a veterinarian. This legislation change affected many agricultural groups. For some sectors, such as aquaculture, apiculture, and small flock poultry, this establishment of a veterinary-client-patient relationship was a new development. Farmers and owners involved with these industries now need to reach out to veterinarians for medical care for their fisheries, hives, and flocks. Many veterinarians limit their practice to certain species groups, and some support was indicated to ensure they were well-prepared to treat these types of patients.

Small flock poultry are often kept in urban or sub-urban environments, not always on a large farm. It was a new consideration for veterinarians in these areas to include medical care for chickens, ducks, or other poultry as part of their clinical repertoire. Some diseases of small flocks can present a risk of disease to humans (zoonotic infection) or pose a contagion risk to larger poultry farming operations. It is important that veterinarians have the skills and knowledge to support healthy poultry flocks, while keeping in mind risks to these other populations.

To assist veterinarians and farmers in navigating small flock poultry medicine, the Ontario Animal Health Network Poultry network members organized an educational seminar for veterinarians. Pathologist Marina Brash of the Animal Health Laboratory, poultry network co-lead Csaba Varga (OMAFRA), Al Dam (OMAFRA), Mike Petrik (OAHN Poultry network veterinarian), Kate Todd (OAHN), and Sabrina McDonald (Poultry Industry Council), worked together to plan and implement a training session for veterinarians on diagnosis and treatment of small flock poultry. Victoria Bowes, board-certified poultry veterinarian and diagnostic avian pathologist, was keynote speaker for the event, and other network members gave presentations on small flock health, welfare and management. Additionally, AHL pathologists assisted with hands-on sessions for the veterinarians in pathology and diagnostic testing techniques. The event was a success, with 40 enthusiastic veterinarians from around Ontario in attendance.

As a result of the continued interest in this topic, additional educational offerings in the form of online recorded lectures on small flock poultry health and disease topics are currently in development by the OAHN Poultry network. This opportunity to assist veterinarians in providing the best care to their expanding patient base is an important initiative, and the OAHN network is pleased to play a role in this collaboration.

To read the full report, download the PDF here.

Videos and notes from the Seminar

OAHN Small Flock Poultry Seminar – April 2019

Resources developed in support of the small flock seminar

OAHN Small Flock Poultry Veterinary Resources 2019

OAHN General Small Flock Resources 2019

Small flock poultry medicine videos with Dr. Victoria Bowes (check back for new developments)

Respiratory Disease in Small Flock Poultry