Intensive Industries Portec Australia (1 week rotation) Vet530 2009

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As with any farm visit we must take all the appropriate precautions to avoid introducing pathogens into herds.


Biosecurity considerations

Each farm we visit will have different biosecurity requirements.  The week will be structured to accommodate the clients’ biosecurity.  It is essential that you have not been in the vicinity of another pig or live poultry during the 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) prior to the start of the rotation.


If you have been in the vicinity of any pigs and poultry during the 2 days immediately prior to the Monday morning visit, please inform the staff member in charge prior to leaving Murdoch, you will not be able to complete the rotation.  It is understood that mistakes happen, take particular care at agricultural shows and fairs to avoid pigs and poultry exhibitions.



1.                  It is necessary to shower (including washing your hair) the evening before or the morning of the visit.

2.             Boots and overalls will be provided on the farms.

3.             Wear normal `street clothes’ – remember you are professionals visiting a clients farm.

4.             Do not wear overalls or other work clothes in the University vehicles.

5.             Practicals at Murdoch– usual protective clothing will be required.


Personal requirements

Bring - your lunch (must NOT contain any pork products –eg. ham, sausage, salami),

Work socks . Notebook and pen.  Calculator and PDA (if owned).


Visit duration

Departure times are given in the PAM Rotation timetable. Occasionally these have to be changed at the last minute. You will be notified of any changes the day before.


Visits last all day. Return times cannot be guaranteed; they are often about 6 p.m. It may be necessary to submit samples to Clinical Pathology on your return.


Visit reports

Over the week, the students need to consider that during a farm visit they will need to write a report.  The practicals are designed to cover the major sections of a farm visit report.


Visiting farms

The location of Murdoch University in Perth means that there are limited numbers of local farms available to provide any clinical experience.  Therefore, it is necessary to drive to farms.  This is the reality of modern veterinary work.



Objectives of the rotation

The course will cover the basic farm visit to create a Herd Health Report.  To complete the report you will need to be able to perform basic disease recognition, preventative medicine protocols and typical farm practice standards to maintain animal health. 


You are expected to have a basic understanding of the pig.  Review the Portec web site for each of the major areas and specific tasks –


In this rotation pigs and poultry are used as the example animal for production medicine. However, it is expected that the student will be able to adapt and accommodate any species encountered during the week.


Major areas to be covered are:



Animal flow

Record analysis and farm targets

Farm assessment

Gilt pool, breeding, gestation, farrowing, nursery and finishing

Broilers, Layer, Hatchery

Stock health

Clinical examination of an individual and group of farmed animals. 

Recognition of the general diseases of the pig. 

Sample collection, blood collection and post-mortem examination.



Specific tasks to be completed:


Environmental analysis

Instrumental analysis of the environment concentrating on – Water, Food, Floor and Air analysis.


Pregnancy diagnosis.  Reproductive surgery.  AI collection and processing.

Record Analysis

Animal Flow.  Setting farm targets.

Clinical examination

The normal pig.  Individual and group analysis.  Analysis of the role stockpeople.

Review of pig microbiology.  Post-mortem examination.


Medicine storage.  Reducing pathogens on a farm.



Student biosecurity au 2

Student examination of nursery


Further reading/resource

The Basic Veterinary Area on the Portec Web site.

Outline of a typical week


Suggested timetable

Note however, that real life will dictate the actual events of the week.  The rotation will be subjected to the normal turmoil of practice life.




Specific tasks

Vet437 page


All day

Pig farm visit

Normal pig behaviour

Clinical examination of individual pigs

Pregnancy diagnosis

Batch farrowing

AI review

Handling pigs

Medication oral drenching











Pig Flow

Batching of pigs on farms

Farm economics





Murdoch Pig Unit

Examination of the pig’s environment




Poultry farm visit


Clinical examination of poultry

Poultry pathology

Blood collection in poultry



Farm audit checklist

Farm quarterly report




Portec Office

Case studies




Industry issue workshops

Animal welfare – codes

         Pig and Poultry

Fit to load guide



All day

Pig farm visit

Medicine review

Clinical examination of a group of pigs

Pig post-mortem

Restraint and bleeding pigs

Medication in pigs