Pig care, disease prevention are top goals for this vet
“I take care of pigs and I’m involved with farmers raising food for people,” Paul Ruen, DVM, says proudly.
“Pigs are beautiful and they’re a fun animal to work with.”
In a video produced as part of the Vets on Call series, Ruen explains that pigs are social creatures who like to be in groups — eating, drinking and running around playing together. They are herd animals who spend their entire life in close contact with one another.
That’s why the focus on disease prevention is so important, he adds.
“If one animal gets sick, it’s just like a daycare setting [for children],” says Ruen, a veterinarian with the Fairmont Veterinary Clinic in Minnesota. “It spreads from animal to animal.”
By utilizing vaccines and healthy environments, veterinarians and producers practice disease prevention and reduce the need for antibiotics.
“Today’s farmers and veterinarians have better training, and the quality of care and medicine for our pigs is better than ever,” he adds.
As Ruen checks a farrowing sow, he explains that the crate she’s in protects the baby pigs while giving them easy access to the sow for nursing.
The farrowing room is kept at the optimal temperature and humidity. The sows and pigs are healthy and comfortable with plenty of fresh air.
“Keeping sows in individual pens allows us to take better care of that animal,” Ruen explains.
“I think there’s a misconception about why we keep animals in individual pens,” he says. “Sows fight to establish hierarchy, and we see more injuries in group-housed sows than any other animal.”
Vets on Call is a video series presented by Zoetis to showcase the important roles veterinarians play in food-animal production.
Watch part 2: