Avian Ophthalmology

Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Sunday, September 30th, 7:00 am - 2:00 pm (with focus on birds of prey)

THIS COURSE IS FULL. Limited to first 50 registrants, open to all registration categories.

Course Description

Inspired by our access to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, the Sunday course will focus on ophthalmology for birds of prey. The goal of this course is to provide the attendee with in-depth discussion of examination and surgical techniques from evisceration to phacoemulsification.  Plus, ocular manifestations of systemic disease in a joint presentation involving ophthalmologists and avian veterinarians. Time has been scheduled for interactive discussion with the speakers. The meeting will be hosted at The Raptor Center and will include an in-depth tour of the facility that allows the opportunity to get up close with the raptors and have additional discussions with The Raptor Center clinicians about the clinical care of these special patients.


  Pi at the Raptor Center

Pi at the Raptor Center

Workshop participants will be split into smaller groups for a closer look at The Raptor Center facility.  The Raptor Center (TRC) tour will be an integration of the Education program's Ambassador raptors and the famous raptor rehabilitation clinic. TRC serves about 150,000 people a year through educational programming at schools, community events and onsite at the center. The raptors that are used are birds that cannot be released back to the wild and are trained to be calm, comfortable and confident in front of various audiences. You will get a "beak to nose" experience while you are here.

In the rehabilitation clinic you will see the treatment room, surgery, radiology, and flight hallway. A TRC Clinician will be in attendance to answer any of your questions you may have regarding caring for wild raptors in a clinical setting.



This course includes a grab and go breakfast from the hotel, bus transportation to and from the Center and host hotel, lunch at the Center, tour of the Raptor Center, 4-5 CE hours, and additional proceedings notes. This course will not be recorded.


6:30am-7:00am Avian Ophthalmology registration and Grab & Go breakfast

7:00am-7:20am Load bus outside of Nicollet Foyer

7:20am   Buses leave Hyatt Regency Minneapolis for UoM Raptor Center

7:50am   Attendees arrive at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center

8:00am - 8:45am Dr. Heidi Denis - “Cataract Surgery in Penguins and Other Avian Species”

8:50am-9:30am Dr. Dana Franzen-Klein - ”Surgical Options for Evisceration”

9:30am-9:45am Break

9:45am-10:30am Dr. Renee Carter - “Ocular Examination Findings and Utility of Ocular Ultrasound”

10:35am-11:25am Dr. Michala de Linde Henriksen - “Ocular Manifestations of Systemic Disease in Raptors”

11:30am-Noon Q & A

Noon - 1:00pm   Lunch provided

1:00pm-2:00pm   Tour of the Raptor Center

2:00-2:15 pm   Load buses to return to the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

*The Raptor Center has limited space to store luggage, please plan accordingly. If you plan to take a taxi from the facility to the airport, it is not recommended. 


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Dr. Renee Carter

"Ocular Examination Findings and Utility of Ocular Ultrasound"

Clinical findings in raptors presenting for evaluation of various ophthalmic disorders will be discussed.  The session will also cover medical treatment of raptors and the utility of ancillary diagnostic procedures such as ocular ultrasonography.

About Dr. Carter

Dr. Renee Carter is a 2000 graduate of Louisiana State University.  After completing a rotating internship at LSU, she completed a four-year residency in comparative ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Following completion of her residency, Dr. Carter achieved board certification as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology.  She returned to her home state of Louisiana as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at LSU from 2006-2012. Following a successful career in private referral practice, Dr. Carter is now an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at LSU and actively involved with ophthalmology clinical service and teaching.

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Dr. Heidi Denis

"Cataract Surgery in Penguins and Other Avian Species"

This presentation will discuss the surgical technique, postoperative care and complications, and visual outcomes of phacoemulsification in various penguin species. General considerations regarding cataract surgery in other types of avian patients will also be discussed.

About Dr. Denis

Dr. Heidi Denis received her veterinary degree with high honors from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997, and went on to an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Michigan State University. She then completed a residency in comparative ophthalmology at the University of Florida, and became a Diplomate of the ACVO in 2001. Following completion of her residency, Dr. Denis joined Animal Eye Associates, P.A., in Maitland, Florida. Over her career, Dr. Denis has had the privilege of working with many different species of animals, including those at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, SeaWorld Orlando, Florida Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, The Central Florida Zoo, and the Georgia Aquarium. Dr. Denis has been a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Florida, and has served on the ACVO Exam Committee. In addition to avian cataract surgery, Dr. Denis’s interests include vision care for people in developing countries, yoga and meditation, and cutting horse competition.


Dr. Michala De Linde Henriksen

"Ocular Manifestations of Systemic Disease in Raptors"

This lecture will explore some systemic diseases in raptors that can lead to blindness or decreased vision due to ocular manifestations including uveitis, chorioretinitis, vitritis, and retinal detachment. Systemic infections (example West Nile Virus), as well as systemic neoplasia and lead poisoning will be discussed with regard to systemic and ophthalmic findings, diagnostic workup, treatment options and prognosis with recommendations for release.  

About Dr. Henriksen

Dr. Michala de Linde Henriksen is a veterinary ophthalmologist from Colorado State University (CSU). She is originally from Denmark where she received her DVM degree in 2005 from University of Copenhagen. Her comparative ophthalmology residency was performed at University of Florida and her PhD in equine ophthalmology is from University of Copenhagen/University of Florida.

Dr. Henriksen has worked as an assistant professor in comparative ophthalmology at CSU since July 2017. Dr. Henriksen came to CSU from University of Minnesota where she worked as a clinical assistant professor in comparative ophthalmology for four years (2013-2017). It was at UMN that Dr. Henriksen gained knowledge and experience with Raptor ophthalmology due to the close relationship between UMN’s ophthalmology service and UMN’s The Raptor Center (TRC). Dr. Henriksen gained a clinical interest in exotic animal ophthalmology – especially with focus on raptor ophthalmology - due to her experience at UMN’s TRC.

Dr. Henriksen loves mountain hiking with her French bulldog ‘Frieda’ in her spare time.

Speaker from the Raptor Center

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Dr. Dana Franzen-Klein

"Surgical Options for Evisceration"

Impaired vision is a common reason for placement of raptors into captivity. Occasionally chronic sequelae such as uveitis or glaucoma necessitate removal of the affected eye. The peri-ocular anatomy of raptors makes removal of the eye a more challenging proposition compared to mammalian species. There is limited space within the fragile orbit, the eyes are encompassed by scleral ossicles, and the short optic nerves are susceptible to damage with excessive traction. Additionally, removal of the eye can significantly change the bird’s facial structure. The risks, benefits, and procedural methods for enucleation and evisceration will be discussed.

About Dr. Franzen-klein

Dr. Dana Franzen-Klein graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After completing a small animal rotating internship and spending a year in private practice, she completed a one year internship in wildlife and conservation medicine at The Wildlife Center of Virginia. She is currently the veterinary resident at The Raptor Center, and a masters of science degree candidate at The University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine.


ACVo Members, Residents, Interns, Students and Technicians (NOT AVOT) - $195

Non-Members and DVMS/Practice Managers - $225