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Continual professional development - Workshops and courses

All workshops are available for independent booking for zoological collections and educational institutes, or are available for booking periodically throughout the year through organisations such as ABWAK. Independent bookings can be modified for bespoke delivery to suit your institutes needs regarding group size, length or topics covered. For those without without an available animal collection, workshops can be booked at Chester Zoo, with no additional venue costs. So please do get in touch to discuss how one of our workshops could be modified to suit your needs. As well as being qualified veterinary professionals, we are also qualified Higher education lecturers, and are happy to adapt sessions to optimise the learning of your staff or students.

Identifying and Supporting Lameness in Zoo Animals Workshop 

BIAZA and ABWAK are collaborating with Veterinary Physiotherapist Matthew Shackleton to bring you this brilliant workshop kindly hosted by a variety of collections for ABWAK, or delivered internally for collections on request.  It would be suitable for zoo veterinary professionals for example, as well as curators, team managers and zookeepers etc. Monitor advertised dates via ABWAK, or get in touch to organise a your very own workshop for your collection. 


Feel free to download a copy of our leaflet, detailing all our current workshops.

Simply click the PDF Icon.

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 gait 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 the collection.

The workshop will include:

  • 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 importance of the holistic 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

Upon completion attendees will receive a BIAZA certificate in identifying and supporting lameness, and there will be a digital copy of the notes from the day to help support your learning and development post workshop. Click here for testimonials from past attendees.

This years ABWAK event: Paignton Zoo 17 & 18 June 2024: Book here!

Exploring Functional Enrichment: Supporting physiological and behavioural health
New for 2024!

'Amazing course, second we've done with Shackleton Vet physio, and they are incredibly informative and interesting' - Yorkshire Wildlife Park - 2024


Enrichment has long been a vital part of captive animal management. While its importance is somewhat understood regarding behaviour management, we rarely consider the direct impact we have as care-givers on fitness, physiology, disease and behavioural health and diversity.


This workshop sets enrichment in a wider context by considering how it may impact cardiovascular fitness and physiology alongside behaviour. Enrichment devices may support health and promote natural behaviour; however, if not used with care they may also exacerbate health conditions or even predispose animals to musculoskeletal pathologies. Enrichment can help with long-term pain management due the link between stress/lifestyle and inflammation in the body.


This course covers relevant theory to equip attendees with introductory knowledge in these fields. By covering the underpinning science of disease and fitness, this will help them to choose enrichment devices and protocols to benefit and support the long-term health of animals, and encourage activity and behaviours that are not detrimental to health. By combining classroom sessions, classroom activities, and a number of task-based practical sessions will encourage attendees to apply the theory to real-life cases. 


 This workshop will cover:

  • How physiological adaptations and musculoskeletal health impact movement and gait

  • How natural animal behaviour impacts fitness and health

  • How captive animals’ age, behavioural limitations and repetitive movement impact fitness and health

  • Enrichment and common enrichment categories

  • How fitness impacts the use of enrichment – planning what/when/how

  • How osteoarthritis impacts the use of enrichment

  • How behavioural factors impact the use of enrichment

  • Design, create and install an enrichment device/usage plan for an individual animal, based upon its current health status`

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  • In-house deliver of workshops for under 25 people, with one member of teaching staff - £345

  • In-house delivery of a workshop for over 25 people, with two members of teaching, increasing

       contact with attendees during classroom and practical activities - £500


Can be booked in-house at a zoological collection or educational facility, or booked for deliver at one of our partner zoos e.g. Chester Zoo, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Crocodiles of the world, this may incur venue costs, depending on collection.

Attendee testimonials

Workhop reviews
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I attended Louise and Matthew’s first BIAZA certified ABWAK training day about recognizing lameness in Zoo species. Many exotic species have evolved to hide all signs of pain to ensure their survival and so this goes massively undiagnosed and untreated. Shackleton’s workshop effectively gives zoo keepers, veterinary professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists basic tools to identify changes in body movements that indicate underlying musculoskeletal problems which will cause the animal pain. Recognizing these problems allows for early detection and more effective treatment and this will have a huge positive impact on animal welfare. As an exotics vet with a special interest in chronic pain I highly recommend this workshop.


Dr Krissy Green

CertAVP (Zoomed), CertSCVA (Acupuncture),

RCVS recognized Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

HEV’N and Exotic Animal Acupuncture

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