Menter Moch Cymru is helping Welsh vets expand their pig health knowledge with a series of in-depth and hands-on training days.

Led by Menter Moch Cymru, working with the Wales Veterinary Science Centre (WVSC), Iechyd Da, and Animal Health Services – the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training schedule includes a mix of practical and lecture days.

A few weeks ago, vets travelled to Forest Coalpit Farm near Abergavenny for a practical day’s outdoor unit training in assessment methods for inspection of pigs, pig husbandry and management, handling, biosecurity, and sampling for health profiling.

They were taken on a tour of the award-winning farm, which raises its own breed of ‘Welsh Black’ pigs (a mixture of traditional Duroc and Large Black pigs).

The visit forms part of an intensive six-day programme of training taking place between May and September and delivered by specialist pig vet Dr Annie Davis of the George Veterinary Group, along with a host of expert guest speakers.

Menter Moch Cymru Project Manager, Melanie Cargill, said: “We’re delighted to be working once again with WVSC, Iechyd Da, and Animal Health Services to deliver pig-focused CPD courses for Welsh vets.

“The courses allow vets to gain hands-on experience handling pigs, which will give them more in-depth knowledge and further assist them in the services they provide for their clients.”

Menter Moch Cymru Development Officer, Lauren Smith, said: “This course was hugely popular when we ran it in 2019, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm there has been for the 2022 course. After two years of training being delivered online, it is wonderful to be able to return to face-to-face CPD.”

“The vet CPD day at Forest Coalpit Farm was a real success. It was a great opportunity for vets to improve their skills and increase their confidence in working with pigs. Following a previous practical day working with indoor pigs, the vets got to put their skills to the test at an outdoor farm and improve their knowledge of pig veterinary science.”

WVSC Veterinary Disease Investigator and Pathology Manager, Dr Beverley Hopkins, said: “Wow, what a day. A farm full of happy pigs and a great opportunity for us all to learn from Kyle and Lauren. I learnt so much from them. The challenges that they face, no year is ever the same in pig farming, you have to be wholly prepared to change the way you do things.”

Previous topics in the six-day CPD course covered topics including the Wales Animal Health and Welfare framework, disease surveillance, TB, nutrition, production and performance indicators, as well as pregnancy and farrowing. Vets also undertook a tour of an indoor pig unit at Glynllifon in Caernarfon, where the course focused on surveillance blood sampling, health plans, and the responsible use of antibiotics.

The final two units of the course take place in early September at WVSC and will feature pig post-mortem theory and examinations, bespoke health planning, performance checking, and future innovations.

The Menter Moch Cymru project is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Image: Welsh vets on the Menter Moch Cymru Pig CPD course at Forest Coalpit Farm.

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