Western College of Veterinary Medicine undergraduate students are once again being offered the opportunity to gain hands on summer experience working with swine.
The Pharmhouse Summer Student Swine Experience 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 the program provides experience in three areas, production, swine medicine and research.
One of the ongoing challenges across North America is attracting students to food animal practice, and particularly into swine practice. Much of that stems from students having little to no experience with pigs or current pork production systems so this summer student program was established to provide that experience in a positive setting. Its ultimate goal is to help recruit graduate veterinarians into swine practice, whether it be a corporate production company or a swine specialty practice or simply a mixed animal-food animal practice.
In a nutshell we recruit interested students through a quite lengthy application process then we find host swine veterinarians in private practice or in production companies and arrange a 12-week placement in that business from early May to the end of July. During the summer the students must maintain a daily log of activities which I review at the end of the summer to assess their experience.
We have financial support for the students split by both the host business and the donation from our industry sponsor, Pharmhouse Consulting.
~ Dr. John Harding, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Harding says exposing students to pigs early in the veterinary program is critical to recruiting swine veterinarians.