Farmscape for March 28, 2022
A summer experience program offered by the Western College of veterinary Medicine is helping expose veterinary students to working with swine.
The Pharmhouse Summer Student Swine Experience Program, a 12-week placement program which offers first and second year veterinary students summer work experience with swine, is moving into its second year.
Dr. John Harding, a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says exposing students to pigs early in the veterinary program is critical to recruiting swine veterinarians.
Clip-Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Our goals are to provide experience in three distinct areas, production, swine medicine and research and the weighting of those depend a bit on the student.
During their four weeks of production experience in barns they are expected to work and learn from farm techs and herd persons during their daily activities such as breeding and farrowing and processing baby pigs and vaccinating and moving pigs, all those things, even pressure washing, as well as maybe get some insight into barn management and human resource challenges.
When they're working with the animal health team during that other eight weeks of this program, that could be swine vets or vet techs or quality assurance personnel, they are expected to be involved in regular barn herd health visits, quality assurance and other audits, maybe diagnostic investigation or disease outbreaks and other production or vet meetings.
If the students are involved in research, the experience should involve all aspects of establishing research questions or objectives, setting up the project and collecting and analysing data as well as reporting.
Dr. Harding says the ultimate goal is to recruit graduate veterinarians into swine practice, whether it be corporate production, a swine specialty practice or simply a mixed animal-food animal practice.
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