Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre 

University Centre Sparsholt has a purpose-built Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre, which continues to expand and grow to meet rising expectations and standards of animal welfare.

Animal health and welfare is of top priority to the animals under human care; whether they are working, production, companion or exotic animals we need to strive to determine the best husbandry and care.

The state-of-the-art Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre at Sparsholt College facilitates advanced welfare practices and digital technology, whilst adding to the range of techniques, skills and industry know-how of our students.  The £2.2 million development is home to the National Zoo Academy – the gold standard for anyone aspiring to enter, already employed or wanting to develop their skills in the zoo industry.  We have an extensive collection of zoo and native species, including both exotic and companion mammals, an extensive bird collection, and the extensive reptile and amphibian department.

Staff and student researchers from the Animal and Zoo courses at University Centre Sparsholt will be studying a range of questions in Companion and Zoo animal health and welfare some of which are listed in the research section below:

  • The AHWRC is currently home to 600 animals comprising of nearly 100 species, including many of conservation interest. In addition to the many familiar companion animals held, the collection also has a zoo licence and is a full BIAZA member.

    We have an extensive collection of zoo species including mammals such as a red panda, lemurs, meerkats as well as paddock animals such as Alpaca, Zebu and Anglo-Nubian goat. The bird collection is extensive including, pheasants, cranes and hornbill. The reptile and amphibian department is spread over six rooms with over a hundred reptiles, more than a hundred amphibians and nearly 500 invertebrates.

  • The state of the art kennels are licenced for up to 20 dogs that are at the college on a day care or full board basis. The kennel block also accommodates a well-equipped grooming room. The cattery is home to a range of non-pedigree and pedigree breeds such as British Shorthair and Ragdolls .

  • Canine Cognition: We are interested in investigating the communication signals dogs use and the perception that dogs have, to better understand the human-dog bond and effective training methods.

    Canine Hydrotherapy: Our Hydrotherapy suite will offer the opportunity to study the effects of treatment on rehabilitation progression

    Zoo Animal Training: Training is being used more frequently as a tool for improved husbandry in the zoo industry and these methods must be science-led, compassionate and non-punitive. Here we will undertake observational research to assess the effects of training on animal behaviour and welfare.

    Zoo Animal Husbandry: We are continuously seeking to improve the welfare of the animals in our care through evidence-based husbandry. Previous research has been published on the effects of different husbandry methods on the welfare of a range of taxa.

    Take part in our research: We are always looking for participants to help with our Canine research if you are interested in being involved, please fill out this contact form in the first instance for further information.

    Meet our team

Veterinary Nursing Centre

Our Veterinary Nursing Centre is accredited to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and is used by them for veterinary nursing examination purposes. The instructors and technicians that work at the centre are experts in their field and passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills with out students.

The facility is equipped to represent a contemporary veterinary practice which allows our students to gain realistic experience in a work setting. Our students are able to use these facilities to relate their theory work to relevant practical elements of their future careers.