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Renaming VAG to VSAG: Guidelines Updated

Veterinary Scientific Advisory Group (VSAG)

The Veterinary Scientific Advisory Group advises the AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC), Conservation Department, and Animal Program Leaders. It is overseen by the AZA Animal Health Committee. 

The mission of the Veterinary Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) is to develop cooperative relationships between AZA, its Animal Programs, its accredited institutions, and the veterinary community and provide technical advice to enhance veterinary services for AZA Animal Programs. The Veterinary SAG is administered by a Steering Committee composed of three Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary) and the Veterinary SAG Chair is appointed by the Chair of the Animal Health Committee.

These are the current Vet SAG members:

Steering committee chair:  Hayley Murphy
Steering committee vice-chair:  Julie Napier
Secretary:  Margarita Woc Colburn
Members:  Deidre Fontenot, Jan Ramer, Kay Backues, Danelle Okeson and Kim Cook

The primary functions of the Veterinary SAG are to:

• Provide support and advice to AZA Animal Programs.
• Provide information for protocols concerning the roles and responsibilities of SAG Veterinary Advisors.
• Serve as an informational resource on the latest veterinary topics.
• Identify and review medical topics for specific species/taxa and recommend preventative and diagnostic evaluation tools and procedures.
• Recommend preventative health monitoring and surveillance programs.
• Provide advice on unique husbandry and/or nutrition requirements.
• Identify unique anatomic or physiologic features of different species.

The expectations of a veterinary advisors are to:

  1. Be a resource to AZA and AAZV colleagues for answering health and disease issues
    a. Engage
    b. Go to TAG and SSP meetings
  2. Maintain and update preventive medicine protocols and applicable necropsy protocols
    a. Ensure websites are current
  3. Coordinate notable morbidity and mortality events of your taxa annually (this could be update on diseases of issues for your taxa (clusters)
  4. Any new bibliography - publications (collection/wild) shared for health and disease
  5. Review SSP/TAG research requests
  6. Go to TAG and SSP meetings and be a vote

Recruiting veterinarians for vacancies:

Currently we have many vacancies available for advisory roles so if interested and have a special interest / expertise in a species, please contact Hayley at and I can help to advise on the process of becoming a veterinary advisor!


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