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Zoo Consultancy - throughout the UK & worldwide

Treating exotic species, as well as advice on behavioural and environmental management to treat and maintain health

Zoological and exotic animal rehabilitation and consultation

The management of exotic species is a highly specialist area requiring a highly holistic approach and specialist knowledge. Utilising my background in zoo management, animal behaviour and animal sciences, I offer a consultancy service enable a holistic/full team approach into the management and 'treatment' of ectothermic/poikilotherms and endothermic exotic species, considering multiple variables that must be considered to maintain musculoskeletal health. I offer a tailored approach that will consider all aspects of husbandry, training and environmental factors; this can only be achieved working closely with keepers. Unfortunately, traditional solely hands-on treatment may only treat the symptoms and hide the underlying cause (leading to repeated treatments without long-term improvement). We believe that whilst hands-on treatment can be an important part of the treatment regime for animals habituated to human contact, a comprehensive approach is the key to success.


My background:
As well as studying veterinary physiotherapy at Nottingham Vet school (MSc) under veterinary pathologists, neurologist and physiotherapists, I have over 10 years' experience working with all taxa within zoos, and extensive experience teaching zoo management degree students, many of whom are now in industry. 

I am also conducting research into identifying lameness/gait in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), which has vastly increased my understanding of the importance of husbandry/environmental parameters, behaviour and how this manifests itself anatomically and predisposes an animal to lameness. My hopes are to develop a numerical grading system for use by keepers and veterinary professionals in the zoo industry. 

As well as treating a variety of species with varying pathologies, I have given numerous talks for, and in conjunction with a variety of zoological organisation (British Veterinary Zoological Society, ABWAK, RAWG, BIAZA, Southern Veterinary Zoological Symposium), on the importance of a holistic approach and behaviour for musculoskeletal and neurological health. 

We have also conducted a workshop at Chester Zoo for Zoo professionals (Keepers, Vets and Nurses), on the identification of early lameness in Mammals, Birds and Reptiles, and approaches to managing long-term lameness. This workshop in 2022 became a 'BIAZA certified training' course, and will continue to be delivered along with our other available workshops and courses.

As well as working for a BIAZA collections, I am also an active member of a number of organisations.

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What is considered?
Environment and management

Assessment of numerous variables such as enclosure design, fixtures and fittings, seasonal changes, substrates/surfaces. This helps maximise animals' musculoskeletal and neurological health, and aid recovery from pathology/maintain health in both endothermic and ectothermic species.

Behaviour and training


Evaluation of the animal's behavioural adaptations and how management/enrichment and training protocols could be utilised to aid recovery or maintain health. For example, the adaptation of enrichment devices or trained behaviours may become protective rather than potentially detrimental.

Activity and functionality


Rather than just encouraging activity and movement of the animals in our care, we consider whether the activity we are shaping is beneficial to health, or potentially contraindicated in relation to an animal's behavioural and anatomical adaptations, or currently pathologies.


The animal's condition and other variables (age, sex, species, social behaviours) potentially predispose the animal to secondary conditions, or slowed recovery. We evaluate the management considerations which are important for the maintenance and recovery of the individual animal.

Giant tortoise Pulsed magnetic field therapy, rehabilitation Matthew Shackleton Veterinary Physiotherapy
Injured or post-operative animals


Whether an animal has received an injury or is recovering from an operation, in conjunction with vets, a VP can provide pain relief and aid the healing process with a variety of manual and electrical therapies and bespoke rehabilitation plan. This can be done environmentally or via training protocols in the case of exotic animals.

Our services
On-site treatment - Throughout the UK

This will include onsite evaluation and treatment (environmental adaptation, exercise regime and treatment) for an animals current health conditions.

On-site consultation - Throughout the UK

This will will include a full evaluation and and report to help manage and maximise an animals musculoskeletal and neurological health. 

Online consultation - Worldwide


This option is available for collections who are outside of the UK, or due to COVID restrictions. We will be able to conduct a consultation via an online platform (Skype, Zoom) to discuss the case. This will require further details such as images of enclosure, management protocols and veterinary history, to enable the best treatment possible.

Case studies

Devon, UK

Dudley, UK

Arizona, USA


Cheshire, UK


Manchester, UK


Clevedon, UK

What now?

Are you after a consultation to assess the animals management/environment to simply maintain health or prevent disease, then contact us  to discuss this further. If the animal/s require treatment for a new or current condition then follow the steps below (applicable for treatment in the UK, for international cases please Contact us):

Step one: Download the veterinary consent form (word doc or PDF - links below), and fill in the owner, animal details and details of your vets (if you are a onsite zoo vet see vet referral below).


Step two: return the form to us via email (, and detail any preferences for your session/visit, we will then forward the form to your vet and gain consent from the registered surgery.


Step three: we will contact you and confirm a time and date for your first session, first

sessions tend to be at least 1hr 30minutes, as this will include a full initial assessment

and treatment. 


Veterinary consent form

For vets: 

To refer a patient, simply download the veterinary consent form (either word or PDF), and complete the patient details and clinical history sections, advisories and return the form via email.



After your first session you will receive a full report detailing clinical findings, treatment administered, environmental adaptations and exercise prescription. This form will also be sent to your veterinary surgery to allow them to update the animal's veterinary records.


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