Comments invited on proposed clinical wildlife practice specialty

Updated April 23, 2024

The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) has received a letter of intent to form a clinical wildlife practice (CWP) specialty within the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). In compliance with ABVS procedures, the board is seeking comment from the public and the profession regarding the proposed specialty organization.

The organizing committee of the proposed specialty submitted a letter of intent to the ABVS in June 2023, which was accepted by the ABVS at its meeting in March.

Veterinarian team doctors examining a Barn Owl with stethoscope in a clinic
Recognizing the need for this unique skillset, veterinarians working in clinical wildlife practice hope to gain recognition of their field as a specialty in veterinary medicine.

According to a description from the CWP organizing committee: “Unlike working with permanently captive wild and non-domestic species, it is critical that these animals be treated and managed in a way that ensures their ability to function normally within their native habitat/ecosystem. The health issues they face are often the direct impact of interactions with human activities or human-altered landscapes, including trauma, environmental contaminants/toxicants, emerging infectious disease, and human-wildlife interactions. Federal and state regulatory agencies rely on the veterinary profession to ensure appropriate veterinary care for the wildlife seen in clinical wildlife practice through establishing regulations requiring veterinarian-of-record relationships and reporting. The creation of an ABVP-CWP Recognized Veterinary Specialty (RVS) would allow the public, general practitioners and state/federal agencies the means to identify veterinarians with the expertise in wildlife medicine providing them with the assurance that they are able to provide wildlife with the most humane care and best welfare possible.”

The AVMA currently recognizes 22 specialty organizations and 46 specialties. All AVMA-recognized specialty organizations and specialties comply with recognition guidelines outlined in the ABVS Policies and Procedures manual. Refer to those guidelines when developing comments regarding the proposed specialty of clinical wildlife practice.

The primary purposes of public comment are to gauge both the distinctiveness of the proposed specialty from current recognized veterinary specialty organizations and recognized veterinary specialties as well as the public need for, and potential acceptance of, a veterinary specialty in the intended facet of veterinary medicine.

The AVMA is seeking comments on the proposal through July 31. The AVMA website includes a one-page submission from the CWP organizing committee detailing the justification and goals for the specialty as well as instructions on how to comment on the proposal. All comments should be emailed to ABVSatavma [dot] org (ABVS[at]avma[dot]org).

A version of this story appears in the June 2024 print issue of JAVMA