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SAC's Jill Thomson elected PVS President

by 5m Editor
11 June 2007, at 11:33am

UK - The Pig Veterinary Society has named Dr. Jill Thomson, veterinary centre manager at the SAC Edinburgh disease surveillance unit, as President. She succeeds veterinary consultant David Burch. MLC vet scientist Derek Armstrong, is vice-president.

Dr Thompson is calling for an initiative to eliminate production-limiting diseases in the pig industry.

“Vaccines against enzootic pneumonia and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus have reduced the impact of these diseases, but the cost of production and, therefore, the competitiveness of the British pig industry is still falling behind that of our major European competitors," she said.

The key reason for this is sub-clinical endemic diseases that pull down growth and efficiency and delay marketing of pigs by up to two or three weeks. The cost incurred can add up to as much as £11 per pig.

Time right for eradication
Veterinary professionals and others within the industry have made significant steps in improving pig health through initiatives such as the British Pig Health Scheme and Wholesome Pigs Scotland. But Dr Thomson feels the time is right for a new initiative, focussed on eradicating common production diseases at a local, regional or national level.

“There is a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm for disease elimination strategies among PVS members, but industry agreements and organisation are required to ensure its success,” she said.

The National Pig Association and Quality Meat Scotland have forged closer working relationships with the PVS and this partnership will be vital for the next steps in driving this process.

Dr Thomson believed that success would be achieved using multiple, small initiatives working within defined geographical areas. The ultimate goal would be to link these across large regions. "Such schemes would bring “untold benefits to pig health and the pig industry in general, she added.

A true pig specialist
Dr Thomson Has specialised in pig medicine and pathology for more than 20 years. She qualified at the University of Pretoria in 1974 and went on to gain her PhD at Edinburgh University in 1982.

A holder of the Certificate in Pig Medicine, a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathology and RCVS specialist in Veterinary Pathology for farm animals, she has a particular research interest in enteric diseases of pigs, including porcine colonic spirochaetosis, swine dysentery, proliferative enteropathy and diet-related diarrhoea problems.

5m Editor