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Veterinary Students with Poultry Interest

Students at NC State-CVM have the opportunity to pursue an interest in Poultry Health Management and Welfare during their education. Students who have an attraction to poultry medicine should use the following information as a framework to maximize their poultry experience during their 4 years of professional education and/or during their externships while visiting our campus.

Steps for NC State-CVM students to focus in poultry health management:

  1. Identify faculty mentor.
    Faculty Phone # Office E-mail
    Dr. Luke Borst 919.513.8287
    Dr. Oscar Fletcher 919.513.6491 CVM C-339
    Dr. Isabel Gimeno 919.513.6852 CVM C-329
    Dr. Jim Guy 919.513.6287 CVM C-292
    Dr. Ravi Kulkarni CVM B-330A
    Dr. Rocio Crespo 919.513.6254 CVM D-339
  2. Students are encouraged to participate in Avian Pathology Rounds Wednesdays 10 AM to 12:00 PM. Contact Oscar Fletcher for further information.
  3. Participate in Poultry Health Management Rounds (CBS 682) offered on Mondays, in the Fall semester at 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM in the D-332 Conference Room. Contact Rocio Crespo for further information.

The following opportunities to focus your education on poultry related experiences are available in the NC State-CVM curriculum:

Teaching Animal Unit Courses – VMP 916

white chickens on poultry farm feedingThe first year of TAU, students will gain experience in the management and care of turkeys and broiler chickens. Students will also gain experience in physical examination of normal poultry and assess normal activity of the animals. Normal production cycles and statistics will also be covered in the laboratory and lecture periods.

Teaching Animal Unit Courses – VMP 936

In the second year, students will gain experience in some of the more common diagnostic sampling procedures performed in poultry.

Teaching Animal Unit Courses – VMP 956

The first semester of the third year will expand the experience gained in the second year regarding diagnostic procedures. The second semester allows a limited number of students to gain more experience in the management of broiler chickens, including evaluation of the disease status of broilers, vaccination techniques and principles of disease control. Basic necropsy techniques will be demonstrated.

Poultry/Swine Medicine – VMP 964

This is a required course for third year students. Approximately half the semester is devoted to poultry diseases.

Avian Pathology Selective – VMP 991W

Introductory course in which the gross and microscopic appearance of normal tissues and tissues responding to injury from birds, including poultry, companion, captive and free-living species, will be studied. This selective can be taken more than once. Students must have taken Avian Pathology I to take Avian Pathology II.

Poultry Health Management Clinical Blocks – VMP 982 and 983

Poultry Health Management I (VMF 982) is an elective food animal clinical rotation for 4th year veterinary students with an interest in poultry health management. Emphasis is on diseases of chickens and turkeys and how the health of hundreds of millions of animals is maintained through the principles of population medicine and biosecurity. Basic concepts of poultry disease prevention, treatment, and diagnostics will be emphasized. Most of the course experiences are off-campus.

Objectives of VMP 982 are:

  • Assess management practices in poultry farms
  • Create differential diagnosis list based on the clinical signs and history
  • Under supervision, design treatment protocols
  • Communicate effectively with clients on poultry health issues

Admission into Poultry Health Management II (VMF 983) is by permission only from the course coordinator. Students must have completed VMF 982 prior to taking VMF 983. The second block emphasis is on gaining more detailed experience working within the poultry industry. Frequently, students are working with adjunct faculty within poultry companies gaining firsthand experience.

Students interested in a career in poultry medicine are encouraged to take advantage of externship opportunities in commercial poultry production. This experience is for students interested in continuing their education at the post-graduate level or interested in job opportunities after graduation.

American Association of Avian Pathologists sponsors a preceptorship program that provides students with financial assistance to cover externship expenses.


The learning goals of VMP 983 are:

  • Asses the health of animals from records and inside housing areas and select appropriate samples
  • Address problems and provide recommendations regarding risk analysis and finance
  • Compare and contrast different options in the poultry industry
  • Depending on your interest in poultry health management, students may take repeated VMF 983 blocks their 4th year to gain more field experiences.

Other Experiences

TAU Student Help

In addition to course work in poultry health management as well as clinical rotations, students also have access to the CVM Teaching Animal Unit (TAU), a unique working farm where we emulate the real-life conditions of poultry production.

Summer Employment

Students may have the opportunity to work with specific Poultry Health Management Faculty on certain research projects during the academic year and/or in the summer months depending on availability of funding. Other opportunities exist to gain summer experiences with integrated poultry companies. Depending on availability. They are usually reserved for students with a primary interest in poultry health management. Both turkey and broiler companies offer these opportunities for summer employment.