Surrey Southern Zoological Symposium 2018

By Daniel Gillett, Surrey

Surrey’s entry to the Southern universities zoological symposium rotation may have involved inevitable speed bumps and complications but looking back was a hugely enjoyable success. 157 students turned out for the weekend to experience hands-on practicals, 8 diverse lectures and the result of the committee’s attempts to entirely self-prepare meals. All topped off by a wonderful night of music into the wee hours of the morning at the Mandolay Hotel, we are very proud to have had the opportunity to introduced Surrey to the visiting students and speakers.

Aiming to ensure a wide variety in subject matter, our external speakers joined us from many different areas of the zoological world with varying backgrounds both clinical and non-clinical. Our intention to inspire the future exotic pet, zoo, wildlife and research vets of the world will hopefully have been fulfilled. Our thanks to Susie Pritchard of Heathrow (a partner of the university), Ty Capel of ZSL, Maru Urbina of Wildlife Aid Foundation, Alan Wilson of RVC, Annie Bentley of Monkey World and Dr Martin Whitehead of Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital. In addition, we would like to thank Surrey’s own Barbara Bacci and Dan Horton for stepping in to lecture at the last minute. Each speaker brought their owner unique style and insight with a healthy dose of humour and received a warm reception.

At the universities stunning pathology centre, Dr Maru Urbina of Wildlife Aid (who opened the event for us on Saturday morning) guided students through wildlife post mortems on cadavers from the foundation including hedgehogs, squirrels and a variety of birds. Feedback from this practical was excellent and we cannot thank Dr Urbina and Wildlife Aid enough for their time and specimens. Dr Elizabeth Anne-King of Medivet Canvey Island and her nursing team offered us their time, expertise and animals to lead an engaging and exciting animal handling session with ferrets, lizards, tortoises and snakes – for many students, this was their first time handling these species but we are certain it will not be their last! Invertebrate First Aid with Sarah Pellet offered a fascinating experience into the basic work vets can do with undervalued and sometimes feared species in first opinion practice.

Each member of our committee – Daniel Gillett, Charles Holloway-Wheatley, Megan Ballman, Sam Burch and Becca Hearne – deserve credit for delivering this event after over a year of preparation. Special credit goes to Verity Peake for masterminding and powering on with the event despite any-and-all difficulties and to our academic lead Dr Dan Horton. A thank you to our sponsor PALS VetLab and to their representative Mary Pinborough for delivering a case-based learning session for us and a thank you to our charity partners Animal Neighbours (whose director Sharmini Paramasivam also delivered a case based session) and Wildlife Aid Foundation.