What are fish veterinarians? What do they do?

Whenever I meet new people, and whenever some stranger sees the plates on my car, everyone asks with surprise,"What is a fish vet?" I think in my head…, "What a FAQ!"

Why do some veterinarians call themselves fish vets, aquatic vets or aquarium vets? These terms are used synonymously by my colleagues and me. Who are the veterinarians that call themselves aquatic veterinarians?

In Australia, there are 21 recognised veterinary specialties (see link). Some veterinarians specialise in surgery, dentistry, radiography or pathology. Aquatic veterinarians take on extra training and interest in aquatic animal health beyond their BVMS, BVSc, DVM or VMD. Some pursue a formal post-graduate aquaculture degrees or courses, and eventually sit rigorous examinations in aquatic animal health (e.g. ANZCVS Membership and Fellowship Examinations – see link), to complement their veterinary training. Those Veterinarians who have had significant skills and experience, looking to be a certified aquatic veterinarian can do so through the WAVMA’s CertAqV program (see link).

Moreover some aquatic veterinarians have additional qualifications that help them provide their clients with yet another perspective to solving their problems. Those with backgrounds in veterinary pathology and veterinary epidemiology are particularly useful, depending on the issues that need to be resolved.

Aquatic veterinarians work in a variety of roles. They can attend to your sick pet goldfish, treat sharks at public aquaria, help solve problems aquaculturists have, teach at educational institutions, do research and development (of new diagnostic tools), work in veterinary pathology laboratories, or work with national and international bodies on policies that affect aquatic animal health. At TheFishVet, these are only some of the many works we do.

So, no matter how aquatic veterinarians come to be, we thrive amid the challenging environment where every case is different, and a large degree of practical lateral thinking is required. Together we are pushing the boundaries of knowledge in aquatic veterinary medicine.

We are ready to serve the public, its fishes, and the veterinary profession by providing high quality service in the discipline of aquatic animal health.

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Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics & Pathobiology), CertAqV, CMAVA, NATA Signatory.
Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist
THE FISH VET, Perth, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA.
Mobile Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Ph: +61 (0)421 822 383
Skype: thefishvet

President WAVMA 2014


Adjunct Lecturer Murdoch University | Secretary Aquatic Animal Health Chapter – ANZCVS | 2014 President WAVMA

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