About the British Veterinary Zoological Society

About the Society

The British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) is a specialist division of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) dealing with the interests of free-ranging and captive wildlife, zoo animals and non-traditional companion animals (NTCAs). The Society has several hundred active members, including registered veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, students and other interested individuals in related academic fields.

The BVZS supports and promotes veterinary knowledge and scientific advancement in the health, welfare and conservation of free-ranging and captive wildlife, zoo animals and non traditional companion animals and encourages veterinary input and support for the health and welfare of these species by those individuals and organisations responsible for their care.


The British Veterinary Zoological Society is run by volunteers. These volunteers are voted onto a council by the membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the conference. Here we will introduce you to the current council members and let them tell you a bit about themselves.

Senior Vice President

Liz Mullineaux
RCVS Recognised Specialist in Wildlife Medicine (Mammalian)


Liz worked in mixed practice, overseas and in the UK, before settling in Somerset as a director of a small animal veterinary hospital for 17 years. Having developed an interesting in British wildlife, in 2011 she completed a clinical doctorate investigating the factors influencing badger rehabilitation and release. She now works as Scientific Advisor to Secret World Wildlife Rescue (a wildlife charity specializing in badger rehabilitation), alongside small animal emergency medicine and academic part-time roles. Her main interest is the appropriate clinical care of British wildlife casualties. she is co-editor of the BSAVA Manual of Wildlife Casualties and author of several other publications on wildlife medicine.


Romain Pizzi

EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management

Romain grew up and qualified as a vet in South Africa, but has been based in Scotland for the last two decades. He has worked with wildlife ranging from whales to snails on five continents in the field, sanctuaries, rehabilitation centres, and zoos. His main focus is on animal welfare and conservation ethics, and he sits on DEFRA’s Animal Welfare Committee, as well as being a trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation, and is a council member of the British Veterinary Association’s Scottish branch. He is veterinary advisor to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Penguin taxon advisory group and common squirrel monkey endangered species program, and is a member of the IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group. He has a specific interest in wildlife surgery, having completed his doctorate on minimally invasive surgery of wildlife, and was elected an honorary life member of the human surgeons’ Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

Junior Vice President

Stuart Patterson

Stuart is a lecturer in wild animal health and the course director for Masters programmes in Wild Animal Health and Biology at the Royal Veteirnary College. as well as being the pathway leader for the MSci in Wild Animal Biology. His main interests are in the relevance of disease processes to conservation, and how this changes as existing populations become more fragmented.

Meetings Organiser


Natalie Wissink
LicVet CertAVP(ZooMed) DZooMed(Reptilian) MRCVS
RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Nathalie graduated from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain) in 2004. After seeing practice in several exotic/wildlife practices and zoos around the world, she completed a one-year rotating internship at Davies Veterinary Specialists. She was the head of the exotic and zoo medicine department at a practice in bedfordshire for 14 years before moving to Chipping Noron Veterinary Hospital in 2020. In 2010 she passed her RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Zoological Medicine). In 2016 she obtained the RCVS Diploma in Zoological Medicine with a Reptilian specialty and is also an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Her main focus is in exotic pets but she is also the head veterinarian for Woburn Safari Park and several smaller zoological collections


Honorary Secretary

Michael Fielding


Formerly Veterinary Surgeon to Blackpool Zoological Gardens. Past President of BVZS, Past president of EAZWV. Current advisory Board member EAZWV. Hon Member BVZS. Hon Member EAZWV. Chairman The ZEBRA Foundation for Zoological Veterinary Education..



Caroline Johnson


Caroline graduated from Liverpool University in 2002 and started work in mixed practice.  After undertaking a Masters in Wild Animal Health in 2006 at the Royal Veterinary College and Zoological Society of London. Following her Masters she moved into exotics practice and concentrated on pet exotics.  In 2019 she moved to an independent practice in Cheshire to help develop their exotics department.  She has an interest in rabbits and small mammals and reptiles, especially the provision of UV lighting. Caroline has been a member of BVZS since her student days and has been Treasurer since 2014.


Public Relations Officer

Heather Bacon
BSc (Hons) BVSc CertZooMed MRCVS


Heather is the Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach manager at the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the University of Edinburgh. She is responsible for developing and coordinating the overseas veterinary training initiatives of the Centre. She organises postgraduate MSc courses and also teaches veterinary students at the University of Edinburgh in animal welfare behaviour and veterinary ethics. Additionally, she works with NGOs, veterinary, and political organisations to develop veterinary educational initiatives around the world. Previously, she has lived in China working as the Veterinary Director at the Animals Asia Foundation, an NGO working to end the trade in bear bile across Asia. Heather graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, and the University of Liverpool with a degree in Conservation medicine. Heather’s research interests include the influence of culture and geography on attitudes to animal welfare, zoo animal welfare assessment and human-animal interactions.


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Benjamin Kennedy


Benjamin has been a member of the BVZS since being a vet student. He is currently an exotic and small animal vet around the Midlands and East Anglia. He has a keen interest in invertebrate medicine and is part of the steering committee of the the veterinary invertebrate society. Outside of his clinical work he conducts research to develop expertise needed to treat invertebrate species.

Benjamin has recently joined the council of the BVZS and helps run the digital aspects of the society, including producing content for the website, and acting as the webmaster for the website.

Meetings Committee

Michelle O’Brien
BVetmed CertZooMed DipECZM (ZHM) MRCVS


Michelle O’Brien is the Veterinary and Wildlife Health Officer for the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) based at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. After graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 1999 she spent six and a half years in general practice, seeing a mix of small animal and exotic species. She gained the RCVS certificate in Zoological Medicine in 2005 and the ECZM Diploma in Zoo Health Management in 2017. Michelle has worked at WWT since 2006 and has responsibility for overall veterinary care at seven of the ten WWT centres in the UK and provides veterinary advice to a number of conservation programmes including the Great Crane Project, Eurasian curlew recovery project and Spoon-billed sandpiper conservation breeding programme.


Sponsor Co-ordinator

Sarah Jayne Smith


Sarah Jayne is a veterinarian at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire. She graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2012 and also has a degree in Veterinary Conservation Medicine from University of Liverpool. After graduating she worked in small animal and exotics practice throughout Devon, UK and New South Wales, Australia before settling at Marwell in early 2016. She is currently studying for her Cert AVP (Zoological Medicine). She has been a member of BVZS since 2006 and have been on BVZS council (in various roles) since 2015. She is currently the sponsor co-coordinator and represents BVZS and BVA on BIAZA council. She is also a member of the meetings committee, helping to construct the zoological medicine stream.

Social Media

Bev Panto
BVetMed BSc (Hons) CertAVP(ZooMed) PGCert (VetEd) FHEA MRCVS
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine


Bev graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009 with an intercalated degree in Veterinary Conservation Medicine. After a year working in East Africa and teaching at the RVC, she worked as a small animal, wildlife and exotics general practitioner for three years. In 2013 she became the Veterinary Officer at RSPCA Stapeley Grange, treating a wide range of British wildlife and domestic species and is also the Veterinary Advisor to South Cheshire Ferret Rescue. She is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, and runs their final year exotics and wildlife clinical rotation and elective. She holds the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine. She also works as the vet for Drayton Manor Zoo and runs a number of exotics and wildlife CPD and training courses for vets and nurses as well as being the CEO for the online veterinary education resource, WikiVet, and Veterinary Consultant for the wildlife charity, Wildlife Aid Foundation.


BVA's Medicine Group's Representative

Andrew Routh


Andrew Routh is Head of Veterinary Services for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, based at the Jersey Zoo.

In over 25 years in full-time zoo, wildlife and conservation medicine, he has worked in zoological collections in the USA, Hong Kong and the UK. Programme work with numerous species has included corncrake reintroduction in the UK, Gyps vultures in Asia and in Madagascar with the ploughshare tortoise and Madagascan pochard.

He has run workshops for veterinary and conservation colleagues in India, Nepal, Mauritius and the UAE and has worked, as a consultant/ volunteer, with orangutans in Kalimantan, bears in Thailand and chimpanzees in Sierra Leone.

In addition to being on BVZS Council, he has been a member of the BVA Overseas Group and an external member of committees of the British Trust for Ornithology and the RSPB.

Andrew has authored over 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He has lectured to veterinary students in UK veterinary schools as well as at universities in the USA, India and Thailand

Veterinary Nurse Representative
and Council Member

David Stokes


In 2005 David graduated from The University of Wales, Bangor with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology with Marine Zoology. David has always been interested in all animals but reptiles and amphibians have long been his passion. David qualified as an RVN in 2011 and joined Great Western Exotic Vets (part of Vets Now 24/7 Emergency & Speciality Hospital Swindon) in 2014 as an Exotics Nurse. He gained his City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species at the end of 2016.


Veterinary Schools Liaison

Lindsay Thomas


Lindsay graduated in 2014 with a BVSc from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Conservation Science from the University of Liverpool. She spent two years in small animal and exotics practice in Birmingham before moving to Montgomery Vets in Kent in 2016. Lindsay has been the BVZS Student Liaison Representative since 2017 on BVZS Council and completed the RCVS CertAVP in Zoological Medicine in March 2019.

Meetings Committee

Sergio Silvetti


Sergio graduated in October 1999 from the University of Milan. He then worked in exotic animal practice in Italy for 10 years. Sergio moved to the UK in 2010 and worked in several first opinion and exotic referral practices. He is currently employed at Manor Vets in Birmingham as Head of the Department of Medicine and Surgery of Exotic Animals. He has lectured at national and international conferences (SCIVAC, BVZS, RWAF) and is co-author of the chapter of Orthopaedics in the BSAVA Manual of Back Yard Poultry