Koi Health Advisor Program
by Spike Cover
(last edited 4-30-05)
The goal of the Koi Health Advisor (KHA) program is to promote the enjoyment of the koi hobby
by supporting the training of
numerous hobbyists throughout the
mission will be (to the extent permitted by law) to:
1. Educate themselves and other hobbyists regarding proper koi husbandry with an emphasis on
koi health including the prevention of disease and other problems,
2. Educate themselves and other hobbyists in the recognition and management of koi and pond
3. Help others in the Koi hobby by assisting them in making health and pond system assessments
and evaluating options for improvements, and
4. Promote membership in AKCA clubs as a way of enhancing the enjoyment of the hobby.
It was anticipated that the program would train about 250 KHAs over the three-year course of the initial project.
In actuality, about 235 students enrolled in the courses, of which about 60% finished (graduated and were certificated).
There were three classes during the first three years, each lasting about one year with the first class starting mid 2001;
the last class ending in June of 2004. All the then current AKCA clubs were invited to participate. Classes were primarily
taught electronically with course material posted on the AKCA’s Internet web site; most of that material is freely accessible
to anyone with Internet access. A closed web board is maintained for Q&A and exchange of ideas and information by KHA students, instructors and
advisors. Three hands-on lab sessions were held during each class.
The geographic areas covered by the AKCA clubs were grouped into nine regions, with three regions per class. In mid 2004, the AKCA Board voted to continue the Program for at least another year. The fourth class was opened to all members (all regions) of AKCA affiliated clubs starting in July of 2004, provided, however, that those members are not koi professionals.
Anyone considering joining or reviewing the Program should understand what the Program is and what it is not.
* is intended to make the hobby more enjoyable to more people by lessening the instance and severity of koi ailments and increasing the health of koi;
* is primarily a prevention education program. Health assessment and maintenance relating to fish and pond problems will be taught in recognition of the reality that some fish will get sick;
* is intended to produce volunteers with the knowledge to diagnose and solve many koi and pond problems and to assist koi owners in solving these problems if and when allowed by law;
* is one intended to supplement veterinary involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of koi,
* is only for students who are koi hobbyists and volunteers;
* is a gift from the AKCA (and those who have generously donated their time) to the member clubs,
* is one in which the AKCA will pay for the preparation and teaching of the course material. Students will be expected to acquire their own course materials and to travel to the lab classes at their own expense,
* is a dynamic course in that it is subject to updates as new material becomes available or corrections are required in the curriculum. Students will be expected to review the course material periodically for revisions, corrections and/or updates. An attempt will be made to flag or otherwise denote changed material, and
* is a course where continuing education (CE) credits will be necessary to maintain certification.
* is not one that the AKCA was obligated by its nature or charter to advocate, produce or support,
* is not one in which anyone has a natural “right” to participate by virtue of being in an AKCA associated club, in the koi hobby, or other such criteria,
* is not intended to supplant veterinary medicine in the diagnosis and treatment of koi,
* is not intended to produce volunteers who will be able to solve all koi and/or pond problems,
* is not one that intends to accept koi professionals as students,
* is not one in which the AKCA intends to pay all the students’ expenses,
* is not one that seeks to advocate or promote any particular product, political or social agenda, and
* is not one that is static and does not change with time..
The course material was prepared and is taught by a group of professionals and advanced hobbyists. The first seven sections will be posted on the AKCA web site for all those with Internet access to study and learn. Section eight is pertinent only to the KHAs and thus will not be posted for public viewing.
Curriculum preparation (section authors):
1. Pond Design - Burt Ballou
2. Water Quality - Norm Meck
3. Filtration - Chris Neaves
4. Anatomy & Physiology - Spike Cover
5. Nutrition - Chris Neaves
6. Health assessment and maintenance - Sandy Yosha, Ph.D., D.V.M.
7. Lab classes - Sandy Yosha
8. KHA / Hobbyist Interface - Spike Cover
Rob Hildreth, DVM – private practice veterinarian
DVM – Extension Veterinarian/Assistant Professor at OSU and Staff Veterinarian
Nick Saint-Erne, DVM – QA veterinarian for PETsMART & author of the course textbook, Advanced Koi Care
Bios for the section authors, lab instructors, continuing education instructors and advisors are given in alphabetical order below:
Richard E. Carlson
Rob Hildreth , DVM
Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM
Nick Saint-Erne, DVM
Richard Strange, PhD, Professor
Sandy Yosha, PhD, DVM
Curriculum Review Committee and other contributors
The AKCA, the Program Director and the section authors wish to thank the following people (in alphabetical order) for assisting with the preparation of the course by reviewing various sections and/or making other contributions:
Galen Hansen, MD
Art Lembke, DDS