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Overview of Zoo Animals


Meredith Martin Clancy

, DVM, MPH, DACZM, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Last full review/revision Oct 2021 | Content last modified Oct 2021

Medical care of zoo animals has become more holistic over the past decade, encompassing all aspects of animal welfare by incorporating attention to the social and behavioral well-being of the animals, in addition to their physical health. Such a comprehensive approach to healthcare considers enclosure design, nutrition, husbandry, management, group social structure, behavioral enrichment, and good medical and surgical care.

This chapter provides a general discussion of management practices, preventive medicine, clinical care programs, and some of the more commonly encountered disorders in zoo animals. For more specific information, refer to other chapters within this section (eg, Amphibians Amphibians read more , Marine Mammals Marine Mammals read more , Llamas and Alpacas Llamas and Alpacas read more , Ratites Ratites read more , Nonhuman Primates Nonhuman Primates read more , Reptiles Reptiles read more , and Vaccination of Exotic Mammals Vaccination of Exotic Mammals read more ). For more information on nutrition, see Nutrition: Exotic and Zoo Animals Nutrition: Exotic and Zoo Animals read more .

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