ABWAK News & Events

ABWAK Identifying and Supporting Lameness in Zoo Animals Workshop (mammals, birds and reptiles)

Paignton Zoo - Monday 17th & Tuesday 18th June 2024


ABWAK are collaborating with exotic specialist veterinary physiotherapistMatthew Shackleton (https://www.shackletonvetphysio.com/zooconsulting) to bring you this brilliant two-day workshop kindly hosted by Paignton Zoo. Due to the in-depth teaching nature of this workshop, places are limited to a small group. It would be suitable for zoo vet nurses for example, as well as curators, team managers and more experienced zookeepers etc.

Musculoskeletal issues of varying aetiology are a common form of pathology in zoo species and can be difficult to diagnose and treat in protected-contact animals. Subtle gait changes and lameness (which may indicate early development of pathology) can easily be missed until a more severe chronic condition develops; this is particularly common due to the large number and variety of species often within a Zoo professional’s care. An increasing body of research highlights the importance of a holistic approach to the management and treatment of musculoskeletal and neurological disease; as Zoo professionals we are taught the importance of replicating an animal’s natural habitat and encouraging activity, but often musculoskeletal health is given less consideration.

This workshop will cover multiple taxa (mammals, birds, and reptiles), and aims to empower Zoo professionals by helping them to develop the skills to identify early changes in the animals in their care. Introductory information will be given on how to minimise or delay the development of musculoskeletal pathology such as osteoarthritis, in conjunction with veterinary treatment. These subjects will be covered using a variety of theoretical and practical tasks to apply skills learnt on the day to real-life case studies in Paignton Zoo’s collection.

The workshop will include (new content):

  • The importance of early identification and prevention of musculoskeletal disease.
  • Identification of lameness (of varying severity) and compensatory gait/stance changes.
  • Monitoring techniques to track lameness e.g., assessing video footage, gait-scoring using evidence-based techniques, assessment of functional tasks, activity budgets.
  • The science behind arthritis/osteoarthritis and other diseases, and chronic changes to musculoskeletal anatomy.
  • The importance of a multi-modal approach for management and treatment to maintain musculoskeletal health.
  • The use of case studies to examine how intervention can prevent worsening of pathology or be used for treatment.
  • Variation in biomechanics and gait between different taxonomic groups.
  • Considerations specific to different taxonomic groups for musculoskeletal health.

After a number of requests, we have now extended the workshop to two days to enable further learning and application of skills.

Grants are available to attend our workshops - log in to the members' area of the website and look for the grants page for application forms.

Bookings will not be confirmed unless online registration is completed, and full payment has been made. Ticket prices are £80 for ABWAK Members, £100 for BIAZA Members, and non-members also welcome at £120. Lunch and refreshments on both days are included in the price.

Advertised workshop content may be subject to change.

Book Event

ABWAK Member Ticket:
Available Tickets: 21

Tickets for ABWAK members only

The ABWAK Member Ticket: ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
BIAZA Member Ticket
Available Tickets: 21

Tickets for BIAZA members only

The BIAZA Member Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Non ABWAK Member Ticket
Available Tickets: 21

Tickets for non members.

The Non ABWAK Member Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.


Jun 17 - 18 2024


All Day


Paignton Zoo
Totnes Rd, Paignton TQ4 7EU


Nick Davis