Stepped Up Swine Veterinary Student Recruitment Needed to Replace Retiring Vets

Apr 29, 2024

A series of swine medicine surveys conducted by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine suggests, as increasing numbers of swine veterinarians reach retirement, efforts to attract new veterinary students need to be stepped up.

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a series of five surveys from November 2022 to February 2023 in which swine veterinarians in private or corporate practice and allied industry vets in western Canada and Ontario were asked such things as how long they have been in practice, their educational background and what attracted them to the profession.

Dr. John Harding, a professor of swine medicine with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, observes there's a shortage of veterinarians across North America.

Quote-Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

For food animal veterinarians this is even more  complex and for swine it's even more acute because it's a very highly specialized industry and there are very few veterinary students that have any exposure to it.So, I think the take home message is, at least for me, there are more swine veterinarians retiring from the profession in the next ten years than I anticipated and I think this all really speaks to the fact that we are all getting older.

Whether we like it or not, we're all getting older, many are now mid-stage.We do have a good group of young veterinarians started but we need to ramp up recruitment.The second take home message is that DVM students may not have the swine industry on their radar but having some experience in the industry is really important for recruitment and that should happen either before they get into their university education or during their university education.

It's very difficult to attract veterinary students to become swine veterinarians if they have no exposure to or no experience in the industry.We have to work on that piece.Thirdly, the other thing that's very important is the most influential factors attracting us are what we do daily, good mentorship that's provided after graduation and then our desire to work in agriculture.I think a lot of that stems from we like feeding the world and we like helping producers.

Publication of the results is pending but until that time anyone wanting further information can contact Dr. Harding at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

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