Guest blog by Dr. Sarah Chapman
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Guest blog by Dr. Sarah Chapman

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The 51st annual American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference was held in St Louis, Missouri in the first week of October 2019. This was a joint conference with ExoticsCon, Association of Fish Veterinarians and Nutrition Advisory Group, therefore there were 1400 delegates! Highlights included sessions on a variety of subjects such as CT scanning, ageing animal care, case studies, and a visit to the zoo. There were also presentations and discussions on well-being within the profession and on the financial issues that are faced by so many vets who come out of university with huge amounts of debt.

Dr. Sarah Chapman BVM&S MSc DZooMed MRCVS from Chapman Zoo Consultancy was proud to present a paper, which was co-authored with Sabrina Brando, on “Practical Tools To Assist With Auditing Welfare In Zoos”. All AZA accredited zoos must undertake regular welfare assessments of their animals, so this talk was very timely as so many American zoos are creating their own tools. Sarah also co-chaired the animal welfare session, which included talks on raptor care, giraffe joint issues, public perceptions of zoos, dental disease, and confiscation of animals and how this is managed – a very varied session! There were also posters presented on a wide range of topics. Sarah was very interested to meet and discuss with the authors on the subject of a proposed scale for osteoarthritis in primates. This condition is extremely prevalent in ageing animals and it was good to see this highlighted – particularly the key message that animals will hide clinical symptoms well until the condition is severe and therefore proactive assessment is key to providing treatment for this painful condition.