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Farm Animal Practice
Environmental medicine tool box for pig vets
  1. John Carr

    John Carr graduated from Liverpool in 1982. After a spell in general practice in Liverpool and Dumfries, he returned to Liverpool in 1988, where he was the Leverhulme resident in pigs. He then spent some time teaching pig medicine in the UK and USA. He has also worked as a senior lecturer at Murdoch University in Australia, and currently works as an international pig health consultant. He holds the RCVS diploma in pig medicine.


Poor performance on pig farms is too often blamed on pathogens. However, in practice, many conditions have an environmental element that plays a significant role in the development of disease. In production medicine, the welfare and wellbeing of animals showing clinical signs are already seriously affected, added to which subsequent treatment will impact on farm profits. Understanding animal husbandry can therefore go a long way to promoting health rather than treating problems. This article describes a systematic approach to environmental medicine and details the basic equipment required to help veterinary surgeons assess a pig's surroundings in relation to the clinical picture, and to make appropriate changes to the environment where deficiencies are identified.

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