Oregon Zoo to host annual conference for zoo vets

September 15, 2015 - 2:33pm
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Workshops will share state-of-the-art knowledge in the field of animal health

Veterinarians from zoos across the country will meet to discuss topics ranging from great ape cardiology to carnivore dentistry to avian "beakistry" as the Oregon Zoo hosts the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians' 47th annual conference Sept. 26-Oct. 2 at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion.

In conjunction with the vet conference, the Nutrition Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will be holding its 11th biannual conference on zoo and wildlife nutrition here Sept. 27-30.

"The Oregon Zoo is rolling out the red carpet for more than 500 zoo and wildlife veterinarians and exotic animal nutritionists from all over the world," said Dr. Robert Hilsenroth, AAZV's executive director. "Not only is the Oregon Zoo a first-class zoo, but it is a true leader in the field of animal care and welfare."

Together, the AAZV and NAG conferences will present more than 130 scientific sessions, delving into topics such as infectious disease among wild elephants in Sri Lanka, sloths as sentinels of ecosystem health, Vitamin C supplements for elephant shrews and the nutrient composition of anteater milk.

"It's a real honor to showcase our zoo to professional colleagues," said Dr. Tim Storms, Oregon Zoo veterinarian. "We're especially excited for everyone to see our new veterinary medical center."

The zoo's vet center — the first of eight major projects funded by the community-supported zoo bond measure — opened in 2012, and includes specialized features like a climate-controlled ICU, a surgery table strong enough to accommodate an Amur tiger, and rolling skylights that provide animals with fresh air and views of the sky. The center also meets LEED Gold certification standards for sustainability.

The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians aims to optimize the health, welfare and conservation of zoo animals and wildlife in all habitats through education, scientific study, collaboration and advocacy. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. Its Nutrition Advisory Group facilitates improved communication and coordination among nutritionists and those requiring nutrition information.