ThePigSite Pig Health
The Consultant or Specialist Veterinarian(76) Traditionally veterinary services have consisted of attending sick animals and the diagnosis of disease and treatment. This fire brigade type of work has usually been carried out by the general practitioner dealing with other species as well, in a multi-species mixed practice. As pig units during the past ten to twenty years have become larger and their techniques of production more sophisticated, the level of knowledge and expertise required from the veterinarian has increased substantially. As a result more-specialised comprehensive veterinary services have developed. They differ in different countries in the way they have become organised but the basic requirements are similar. In the UK a second service has developed, that of the independent pig specialist, who spends the majority of his or her time working amongst pigs on his clients farm within the frame-work of the general practice to which he belongs. A third even more specialised role is that of the person who is totally dealing with pig health, management and production and who could be classified as a consultant. He or she not only attends herds within the practice but also is invited to advise on herds in other practices often at considerable distances away. There is a fourth role within the industry, that of the specialist veterinarian fully employed by large pig organisations or ancillary industries, but his job perspective can often (but not always) become more of an administrative and decision making one rather than "hands on" on the pig farm.
A somewhat similar development of veterinary services has developed in North America except that here a number of very large pig producing organisations have emerged each comprising of 100k to 200k sows and their progeny. These employ full-time veterinarians with highly specialised roles. Similar developments have occurred in some countries of South America and Australasia.
Nevertheless, the actual resources required in different countries have some comparisons even if the organisations are different. The three different types of service shown in Fig.3-10 are those most commonly found in the UK.
Veterinary services should be used to:-
- Increase efficiency.
- Further educate and help understanding.
- Contribute to management.
- Control disease.
- Prevent disease.
A written report of the observations and advice should be provided so that it can be used and acted upon pending the next visit. It is also a reminder of the discussions that took place and it can highlight agreed recommendations not acted upon.
The veterinarian can influence the relationships between people, management and pig and this communication and the dissemination of knowledge associated with it, can be one of the main attractions for the purchase of veterinary services, particularly when the results are increased profitability.
Fig.3-12 shows some of these inter relationships that occur, starting with the bank, the spouse or partner, the owner, the pig and finally profit. Within each group of people there must be constant interactions and dialogues with the ultimate aim of improving profitability.
Fig.3-13 outlines detailed interactions by the specialist or consultant on the farm and some guidelines. The frequency and time necessary for the veterinary visits relative to herd sizes, is shown in Fig.3-14. It should be noted that a new emerging role involves participation in quality assurance schemes and auditing the farm against required standards.