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Penn Vet Teams with Merck Animal Health to Educate Young Swine Veterinarians

By Hannah Kleckner Published: Aug 8, 2018

[August 8, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA] In collaboration with Merck Animal Health, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), hosted its latest Swine University from July 19-26, 2018, to educate veterinarians new to this area of the profession on a comprehensive approach to swine health management and production.   

Dr. Gary Althouse explains key concepts to students during a hands-on lab.

Swine University participants, representing seven countries from across the globe, were involved in a training program that included lecture, interactive lab, and both small and large group activities. Facilitated by the foremost experts in swine health, the curriculum included a mix of practical and theoretical exercises on swine management, communication skills, economic analyses, and an in-depth review of diagnosis and treatment of respiratory and reproductive diseases.

“Swine University offers young veterinarians an opportunity early in their career to gain critical expertise through a unique hands-on experience that addresses respiratory and reproductive topics impacting the modern farm and the marketplace in which they operate.” said Dr. Tom Parsons, Associate Professor of Swine Production Medicine at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center and Swine University lecturer. “I’m delighted with our longstanding commitment with Merck Animal Health in investing in these young professionals that are shaping the future of swine health, production, and welfare across the globe.”

Students examine how to properly prep a sample for diagnostic evaluation.For the past five years, Parsons, and his colleague Dr. Gary Althouse, Professor of Swine Health and Reproduction, have brought the recognized expertise of Penn Vet’s Swine Group to students attending the training sessions.

Comprising of an integrated network of practicing faculty with focuses in swine medicine, reproduction, and welfare and behavior, Penn Vet’s Swine Group addresses, through research and outreach, many of the challenges surrounding hog health, such as advancing sustainable models for swine production, developing strategies to mitigate reproductive challenges within herds, and applying technological tools towards disease control.

"Our group provides a panoramic approach that critically assesses all internal and external inputs when developing herd health and management recommendations,” said Dr. Althouse. “It is this unique expertise, and our success in addressing current regional, national and global swine industry needs, that attracts global animal health companies to engage with our program.  We are proud of these partnerships.”

Dr. Tom Parsons shares insights from his research on improving swine housing.A successful application of the group's panoramic model is found in Penn Vet's Pennsylvania Regional Control Program for Swine Diseases, which is under the direction of Dr. Meghann Pierdon, the newest member of the Swine Group faculty. This community-based approach incorporates geospatial information about swine disease in the Commonwealth, which is used by producers, government agencies, and the allied industries to minimize the introduction and spread of disease.

Swine University attendance is by invitation only and limited to young veterinarians in the swine field with one to three years of experience in veterinary medicine. For more information on the program and upcoming learning opportunities, please visit

About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling nearly 35,300 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles nearly 5,300 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats more than 38,000 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

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