MARVET (Marine Veterinary Medicine) is an educational program offering introductory courses in marine animal medicine for veterinary students and veterinarians who would like to become more acquainted with the expanding field of marine animal health and conservation medicine. Information is approached in a workshop format combining traditional classroom presentations with practical hands-on applications and site visits to marine animal facilities. Selected workshops now invite participation from biologists and advanced biology students interested in ecosystem health and the interdisciplinary team approach to ecological health problem-solving.
Marvet was established in 1999 and operates in a non-profit fashion, with all involved donating their time toward the goal of introducing veterinary students and veterinarians to the field of marine veterinary medicine with an emphasis on marine conservation. The expertise of many individuals and affiliated organizations has combined to make the "Marvet" experience unique.
Our courses are intended to provide conceptual information on marine animal biology, ecology and medicine in animals under human care in closed systems such as oceanaria, as well as in free-ranging marine animals in natural ecosystems.
Class size is restricted to ensure that participants have the opportunity to interact with leading veterinarians and researchers in marine veterinary medicine. Instructors include internationally recognized experts from the frontlines of marine animal health, welfare and conservation in a global context; they represent a diverse range of facilities and organizations, including oceanaria, aquaria, zoological parks, rehabilitation units, wildlife organizations and universities, as well as federal and state governments. The role of veterinarians in the development of effective marine animal conservation policy at national and international levels is introduced.
Specific topics include marine animal taxonomy, ecology, anatomy, physiology, pathology and clinical medicine in marine species (with an emphasis on marine mammals, sea turtles and marine birds with some attention to sharks and other fish species). Diagnostic methods (hematology, radiology, ultrasonography, endoscopy, urinalysis, cytology, histopathology, necropsy) and therapeutic applications are presented. Information is provided on recent mass die-offs in free-ranging marine animals (e.g., morbillivirus, influenza and biotoxins from "red tides") and how these events relate to the emerging discipline of conservation medicine.