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NWRA Wildlife Medicine Course Annotated Agenda
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Day One

Introduction (10 min)

  • Introduction of speakers, and explanation of course materials and format

Introduction to Wildlife Medicine, Regulations, Ethics & Euthanasia (1hr)

  • What is wildlife medicine?
  • Different branches of wildlife medicine
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Medicine
    • What it is; Who does it / working with rehabilitators; Professional
    • Organizations; Ethics; Legalities; Triage overview; Release considerations

Approach to wildlife patient (1hr)

  • Stress; Restraint; Triage; Physical examination; Anesthesia (brief)

Critical care, bandaging, fluid therapy, wound management (brief overview of each) (1hr)


Wet lab (3 hr)

  • Assorted mammal & avian carcasses
  • Students work individually or in pairs
    • Species identification
      • Physical examination & Anatomy
    • Fluid therapy/injection sites
      • SQ, IM & IV injections; SQ, IV, IO, IC, and PO fluid administration
    • Bandaging / Fracture immobilization
      • Wing wraps, leg splints, thermoplastics; Species considerations
    • Anatomy/necropsy
      • Necropsy procedures; Organ identification; Description of lesions
      • Identification of parasites found; Comparative anatomy

Day Two

Captive management (1/2hr)

  • Stress
  • Nutrition
    • Temporary vs. long–term; Dealing with emaciation; Refeeding syndrome
    • Approximating natural diets in the wild; Vitamin supplementation
  • Housing
    • Emphasis on temporary housing, i.e., what is appropriate for an animal when it is 1st brought to a veterinarian, and also considerations for animals in rehabilitation. Conditioning prior to release.

Orphan care (1/2 hr) –

  • Returning/reuniting/fostering young to the wild
  • Identifying infants truly in need of care
  • Temporary care (fluids, heat, diet, etc., until rehabilitator is located)
  • Emphasis on mammals and birds 

Diseases (2½ hr) – Turtles (30min); Birds (1 hr); Mammals (1 hr)

  • Infectious (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, prion)
  • Zoonotic (emphasis on careful housing and hygiene
  • Toxins (heavy metals, pesticides, botulism, environmental; dealing with a large–scale toxic event or individual animals)
  • Common injuries


Case studies (what to do if…) (1hr)

  • Common problems and diagnostics
  • Interactive to get students thinking: history provided and students generate differentials, diagnoses, and treatment options

Lab (2 hr) Solving the Mysteries!

This activity consists of stations, each of which contains a case history and a “clue.” Working individually or in groups, the students use the information provided in the history, together with the physical article (a radiograph, a preserved sample in a jar, a specimen under a microscope, an animal artifact, a photo, etc.) to answer a series of questions. Some questions may address diagnostic steps, others may address treatment options, while others may address disease pathophysiology or transmission. The workshop ends with a short review and discussion of each case. The information provides the students with a course of action to treat and rehabilitate the animal (bird, mammal, or herp) mentioned in each case.