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Aquatic Animal Medicine: A Growing Specialty

Many universities are now offering specialty courses in aquatic medicine.

By Julie Mancini

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Supplement to “Aquatic Vets” by Julie Mancini, Ponds USA & Water Gardens, 2013 annual magazine, Vol. 16.

Aquatic animal medicine has been a recognized veterinary specialty since 1968 when the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM) met for the first time in Menlo Park, California. However, the specialty was slow to grow and develop for the first 30 years of its existence.

As fish continually became more popular pets, veterinary schools identified a need for a new specialty: aquatic animal medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 2,000 veterinarians in the United States practice aquatic animal medicine. Some of them work at aquariums, while others are involved with commercial fish farms. Still others are involved in caring for pond fish or tropical fish kept as pets.

The University of Florida now offers a certificate program in aquatic animal medicine that gives veterinary students the opportunity to take 15 units of aquatic-animal-specific courses (seven units of health-related core classes and eight units of electives). The first students to participate in the program graduated in 2010.

The University of Florida is not the only veterinary school to offer specialized classes in aquatic animal care. Here are the other United States universities that offer specialty courses in aquatic animal medicine:
• Cornell University
• Louisiana State University
• Michigan State University
• Mississippi State University
• North Carolina State University
• Oregon State University
• University of California, Davis
• University of Georgia
• University of Pennsylvania
• Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
• Washington State University


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