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Mizzou Hosts Exotics

Copper Aitken-Palmer, DVM, chief veterinarian from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, offered an advanced topics lecture in simian retroviruses and herpesvirus, but also addressed a group of interested students in how to break into the fields of zoo, exotic and wildlife veterinary medicine.

Brendan Tindall, BVSc, a visiting veterinarian from South Africa, offered several lectures during the Show-Me Exotics Symposium, including a talk on advances in elephant immunocontraception.

Peter Caldwell, BVSc, who performs wildlife work in South Africa, lectured at the Show-Me Exotics Symposium on several topics including a discussion of diseases and disease management in captive carnivores.

Veterinary students had the opportunity to learn about securing habitats on South African farmland for large carnivores like cheetah, the non-surgical dehorning of rhinos, and what life is like for a circus veterinarian during the recent Show-Me Exotics Symposium. The symposium has been held annually for 13 years, alternating locations between the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Tennessee. The 2015 symposium was held at Mizzou in January.

Members of the college’s ZEW Club organized the event. They determined topics to be covered and invited experts to present lectures in their areas of specialization.

During the 2015 symposium, there were more than 10 presenters, including wildlife veterinarians from South Africa, Brendan Tindall, BVSc, and Peter Caldwell, BVSc; the chief veterinarian from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, Copper Aitken-Palmer, DVM; a member of the National Marine Mammal Foundation team, James Bailey, DVM; the chairman of veterinary services and director of research at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Dennis Schmitt, DVM; and the director of animal health at the Kansas City Zoo, Kirk Suedmeyer, DVM. Also presenting lectures were Megan Baebler, DVM, and Michael Jones, DVM, who specialize in avian medicine and surgery, and Kelly Straka, DVM, a wildlife veterinarian. MU College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians Cathleen Kovarik, DVM, Dusty Nagy, DVM, and Jacqueline Pearce, DVM, spoke during the symposium on their areas of expertise, respectively, aquatic animal anatomy, diseases in miniature swine and avian ophthalmology.

Among the lecture topics were “Rhino Darting and Immobilization Techniques,” “Preventive Health Care in Captive Carnivores,” “Elephant Artificial Insemination and Reproduction,” “Diseases of Birds of Prey,” and “Zoo, Exotic and Wildlife Medicine: Breaking into the Field.”

A total of 113 individuals registered for the symposium, including veterinary students, pre-veterinary students, technicians and community members. Participants came from veterinary colleges in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee.  For the first time a distance learning option was made available for individuals who could not travel to Columbia, with nine people choosing that option.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012