Many vets look after well-loved cats, dogs and other domesticated animals there’s one side of veterinary science that cares for animals species not seen in a metropolitan surgery.

Zoo vets and vet nurses are responsible for ensuring the health and wellbeing of all the zoo’s animals – a typical day could include everything from vaccinating a cheetah, wombat dental checks, snake and bird faecal examinations, and even performing an ultrasound on rhinos and giraffes!

Every animal undergoes an annual health check, as well as regular vaccinations and microchipping. What an awesome job.

You may not see the work of the veterinary department when you visit a zoo but it plays a very important role behind the scenes.

Adelaide Zoo (like most zoos) has its own on-site veterinary hospital which sees everything from tigers and lizards to birds and bears. There are four core areas of veterinary operations: clinical work, preventative health & nutrition, conservation medicine, quarantine.

The core work of the Veterinary Department is to provide a veterinary service to the Zoo’s animal collection. This often involves procedures such as surgery, taking x-rays, performing ultrasound examinations, taking blood samples, dental work, and giving medications, and is as varied as the animals that are treated.

Vets such as Adelaide Zoo Vet, David McLelland, plus the Zoo Keepers are an essential part of any zoo where the health and well-being of the captive animals are their responsibility. So next time you visit Adelaide Zoo and spend time watching the animals, spare a thought for the vets that keep them looking and feeling so good.






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In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.