Fit to trade bulletin

The Fit to trade bulletin promotes government and industry partnership across the biosecurity systems that protect and enable Western Australia's livestock businesses to trade into domestic and international markets.

DPIRD diagnostic expert certified as world-class

DPIRD pathologist Megan Curnow
DPIRD’s diagnostic capability now has internationally recognised expertise with Department pathologist Megan Curnow achieving American College of Veterinary Pathology board certification.

Western Australia depends on the expertise of our Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) veterinary pathologists to diagnose livestock, aquatic or wildlife disease to an internationally accepted standard.

Rapid, accurate diagnoses are essential to protect our domestic and international markets and public health from diseases of concern.

Senior veterinary pathologist Shane Besier said the recent award of Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathology status to DPIRD pathologist Megan Curnow had boosted the international credentials of the department’s diagnostic team.

“Diplomate certification by the American Board of Pathology is the highest certification possible in veterinary pathology and is internationally recognised,” Dr Besier said.

“It recognises that candidates who successfully sit the exam are the foremost experts in the field of veterinary pathology.”

“The Department and our team of veterinary pathologists supported Dr Curnow with study leave and study groups to undertake the challenging examinations because her skills and credentials will support Western Australia’s readiness to diagnose exotic diseases that could damage our livestock or fisheries, our wildlife, our lifestyle or our public health.”

“In 2017/18, the DPIRD laboratories carried out 1243 animal disease investigations. The results from these investigations are used to support our proof of freedom from significant diseases that could affect our markets or human health,” he said.

“In addition to contributing to these disease investigations, Dr Curnow will also be able to participate in developing strategic animal health and diagnostics policy, mentor new pathologists and trainee veterinarians across the state and so continue to increase the depth of diagnostic expertise in WA.”

Dr Curnow said it had been arduous managing the enormous amount of study required for the pathology exams held in Tampa, Florida last year.

“It would have been impossible to achieve this result without the support of DPIRD, my pathology colleagues and mentors from other pathology groups,” she said.

Dr Curnow graduated from veterinary medicine in 2011 and completed her Masters of Veterinary Clinical Studies in Veterinary Pathology at Murdoch University in 2015.

Originally from England, she grew up in Albany on a hobby farm, where her interest in animal disease began.

“I’ve always been fascinated by pathology, I love solving puzzles and that’s often what disease investigations come down to,” Dr Curnow said.

“It is extremely satisfying to be able to make a critical diagnosis and help resolve animal health issues knowing that that information we provide as pathologists helps individual producers and their herd but also potentially the whole WA livestock industry.”