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Swine vets play new role in preparing producers for on-farm procedures

A Steinbach based swine veterinarian says new antimicrobial use and animal welfare regulations and heightened risks of the spread of disease have changed the role of the swine veterinarian.

16 February 2020, at 10:00am

Last month Swine Health Professionals officially opened its new Sheridan Room Education and Training Facility, a biosecure space in which the practice can provide swine barn workers hands on training in the husbandry and veterinary skills that will help them in their work.

Dr Blaine Tully, a Veterinarian and partner with SHP, observes the role of veterinarians and their relationships with their farms continue to evolve.

"What we've observed over three decades of swine veterinary practice is a shift from what was termed emergency medicine where veterinarians were busy kind of putting out health fires to more of a preventative role," explains Dr Tully, speaking to Farmscape.

"Certainly we still do those on a daily basis within our practice but the shift has really been to having swine farm workers become more adept at some of the husbandry practices that are a part of them.

"As the world around us changes with some of the antimicrobial regulations and welfare regulations that put more pressure on farms to kind of do the right thing, we find it really helps to have an open discussion in some of our workshops to enable workers to understand some of those principles of husbandry and how they can apply them in a better way on their farms."

Dr Tully says the new education and training facility will accommodate programmes SHP has developed over the years as well as several new programmes including euthanasia training to help swine barn workers be more comfortable with performing that job and programmes to help workers become more familiar with disease pathogens on swine farms and the medication and vaccine protocols in place to address them.

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