Veterinary Products and the Environment

Course Description

This course draws from the ‘Gyps Vulture Crisis’ of the late 1990s – early 2000s and introduces students to critically thinking about veterinary products relative to non-target entities, i.e., the environment and wildlife. It focuses around the notion that veterinary products, as administered to livestock animals/horses, exotic animals, companion animals and sometimes to people (via medical treatment), may have considerable repercussions on the environment, starting with wildlife. Students will consider the key features of a ‘balanced’ ecosystem, in conjunction with provision of ecosystem services by species especially vulnerable/sensitive to veterinary drug exposure. Key toxicological concepts and terms, and a selection of monitoring techniques and approaches used in the terrestrial and aquatic environment will also be reviewed. The strengths and limitations of veterinary product labelling, and various ethical conundrums arising between usage rationales and product repercussions, will also be touched upon.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Employ critical thinking regarding the use and potential repercussions of veterinary products
  • Recognize current risk scenarios to wildlife and the environment posed by veterinary products
  • Appraise other potential issues and threats encountered in subsequent course work and professional training