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Christy Ly
UWP 001Y
Section 002
The Avian Veterinarian Discourse

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This study explores the Discourse community of both the companion avian veterinarian
and the poultry veterinarian in hopes of revealing the relationships they encounter on a day to
day basis, their goals, and the various forms of communication that are used. Additionally, the
study will compare and contrast the two communities to help give future vet students an idea of
what each career is like. The expected results of this study are that both veterinarians will use
similar forms of communication (verbal speech, emails, scientific papers, etc.) and have similar
sets of goals, but have different relationships with the people they encounter.
A Discourse community is simply a community of people who share a set of goals,
values, specialized vocabulary, genres, levels of expertise, and forms of communication (Pigg).
An example of a Discourse community is the Veterinary Medicine field, a broad community
consisting of people who treat and diagnose the various animals that inhabit this earth. Today,
this study will focus on the avian veterinary medicine field, where the two subcategories of this
field, the companion avian and the poultry, will be compared and contrast. Both veterinarians
work with birds, but like the name implies one works with specifically pet birds and the other
with birds used for human consumption (Kramer; insidejobs.com).
Companion avian veterinarians typically work in a vet clinic, also known as a private
practice, where bird owners can bring their pets in for an examination (Kramer; insidejobs.com).
In contrast, poultry veterinarians must head out to their clients property to treat and examine the
health of the birds (Kramer; insidejobs.com). With two differing work environments, the two
veterinarians are expected to interact with different people on a normal day at work. For instance,
companion avian veterinarians work in a vet clinic where they will interact with not only their

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clients but receptionists, vet technicians, and kennel attendants (ahhb.net; Hoffman; Kramer;
Trainor). On the other hand, poultry veterinarians are more likely to be found working with
farmers, ranchers, and researchers (Glisson et. al.; insidejobs.com).
These two fields are nearly identical due to the fact that they are both under the avian
veterinary medicine. However, even though both fields are similar in that aspect, they can still
share differences because of their different work environments.
Methods and Materials
For the first part of the study, second hand research was done to help develop a clear
picture of the following two Discourse communities: companion avian and poultry. Ideally, after
the research is completed, an interview of a veterinarian from each Discourse community will be
conducted. However, due to time constraint, only one interview officially made it into the
research paper. In doing so, the information the other interview was supposed to supply will be
replaced with second hand research.
The person being interviewed is Dr. Karen Krstich. She will be asked a series of questions
relating to the forms of communication she uses, her goals, special terminology, and the
relationships she has with the people she encounters on a normal day at work. The interview will
be recorded via a voice recorder app. Questions asked can be from the following:
1. Why did you decide to pursue this career?
2. How important do you think literacy is in your field? Did you have similar thoughts when
you were in college?
3. Because you are a mixed animal veterinarian, how did you come about treating poultry?
4. How does one become familiar or knowledgeable about avian other than taking classes?
5. Why do you think poultry veterinarians are not as well know as small animal
veterinarians or equine veterinarians?
6. What is your work environment like and who do you interact with at a typical day at

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7. What are effective ways of communicating within your work environment? Name your
preferred way of communicating.
8. Do you have any disputes with colleagues within your community, such as differing
views or morals? If so name a few and explain where the issue stems from.
9. Are there any special terminologies that are used within your community? If so name a

few and explain how effective they are with helping you communicate with other
members in your community. How about with people outside your community?
Dr. Karen Krstich is a mixed animal veterinarian who on the occasion works with
backyard poultry. Her path towards becoming a veterinarian was interesting. She was already set
on the path towards becoming a veterinarian. However, she did not like the pre-vet school
program as an undergrad at UC Davis, so she later decided to switch over to the Physical
Education Department. With the Physical Education Department, she completed a Bachelor and
Masters Degree and landed a job with the university for five to six years. Eventually, she decided
to move and in doing so became a part of the Human Medicine field, specifically Clinical
Research which she did for another eight years. Finally, after about ten plus years, Dr. Krstich
decided to revisit her original plan of becoming a veterinarian.
Pursuing a career as a mixed animal veterinarian, Dr. Krstich did not expect that she
would later down the road have the need to learn about treating poultry, particularly chickens.
But due to an increase demand within her clientele, she decided to go back to school to increase
her knowledgeable about the poultry world. Additionally, Dr. Krstich takes a brief moment to
explain that the reason why the public continues to make the assumption that a veterinarian can
treat all animals is due to the fact that historically veterinarians can treat all animals. Despite an
increase in specialized veterinarians, the public has not made this connection yet.

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When asked about the importance of literacy in her field, Dr. Krstich commented on how
she didnt think much about the importance of literacy during her college studies, but after
entering the workforce, she has overtime learned that literacy is an extremely important skill.
This is because most of her work consisted of interacting with people almost every day and as a
result she needed to have the ability to communicate well when not only working with her
colleagues but her clients.
Dr. Krstichs work environment is mainly outdoors at her clients home. As a result, her
main forms of communication are texting, phone calls, in person talking and emails. Her
preferred form of communication is either phone calls or in person talking. She also stated that
she uses different types of communication depending on who her client is and what the current
situation is like. For instance, she has a rule where if the client has two or more questions or if
they know she cant answer their question within two texts than she expects them to call her. She
also uses these forms of communication with colleagues within her field as well as special
terminologies like cloaca, palpate, and sid.
Furthermore, Dr. Krstich comments how her and her colleagues share similar goals in the
fact that they all want to make the animals they treat better or healthier, but when it comes to
style of work they want to work in, they share different views. For instances, some practices are
driven by price or the level of care they provide.
Comparing the results with the second hand research it was determined that the
hypothesis of this paper was correct in some aspects but incorrect in others. Both veterinarians
use similar forms of communicating with their colleagues, but not their clients. They also have
similar sets of goals, but different ways of implementing those goals. Lastly, they do have

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different relationships with the people they encounter which are a result of their differing work
environments, but also the type of style they work in.
The forms of communication, according to Dr. Krstich, that both veterinarians used
consisted of email, phone calls, and text to communicate with their colleagues. Additionally, to
communicate with other veterinarians or researchers within their field, they often times attend
conferences or workshops that are held by organizations like the Association of Avian
Veterinarians (AAV) or American College of Poultry Veterinarians (ACPV) (aav.org; acpv.info;
thebirdclinic.com). At these conferences or workshops, there will be current papers on all
aspects of avian medicine and surgery that will be presented (thebirdclinic.com). Though, when
it comes to communicating with their clients, both veterinarians approach it differently. For
companion avian veterinarians, who are more likely to have a fixed place for work, they use
telephone calls or emails to communicate with their clients (Trainor). With Dr. Krstich, who goes
to her clients home to treat the animals, she uses texting, telephone calls, or emails.
Within the forms of communication, they also share similar terminology. Because both
veterinarians are under the larger category of veterinary medicine, they take similar courses
during their years at college learning and using specialized vocabulary such as pectoral, vent,
proximal, distal, sid, and tid (asac.ucdavis.edu; catalog.ucdavis.edu; Hoffman; Miesle; Krstich).
Furthermore, the two professions share similar goals, but they achieve those shared goals
in different ways. Those goals are to continue the advancement of the veterinary medicine field
within the avian/ poultry community and to encourage the continual education no matter what
expertise or in the simpler terms of Dr. Krstich, To make animals better and healthier (aav.org;
acpv.info). There are also differing goals where the AAV is more focused on educating bird

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owners on the correct way to care for their pet birds, while ACPV is focused on the promoting of
research within poultry veterinary medicine.
The two Discourse communities may seem similar at first, but when taking a closer look
at aspects such as their work environment or goals, they are quite different. These differences can
help future vet students decide on the right field for them. For instance, if the students are more
concern about income, they might look towards the direction of the poultry industry as there has
been a demand for poultry veterinarians. For future research, interviews should be conducted for
only companion avian veterinarians and poultry veterinarians for more accurate responses and

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from http://www.aav.org/?page=about
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http://asac.ucdavis.edu/majors_folder/animal science major.htm

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