Fit to trade bulletin

Training supports WA’s future vets and livestock industries

DPIRD staff and Murdoch University vet students and staff in DPIRD laboratory
DPIRD veterinary pathologist Shane Besier (left), veterinary officer Emily Glass (third from left) and virologist Cameron Loomes (third from right) provided Murdoch University vet students and Murdoch University pathology registrar Cynthia Robveille (second from left) with an overview of DPIRD's laboratory services and the role of animal health surveillance and diagnostics.

Final-year veterinary students and Western Australia’s biosecurity status are benefitting from a joint training and engagement initiative coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Murdoch University.

DPIRD veterinary pathologist Shane Besier said it was vital that both companion animal and livestock vets understood the important role they would play in protecting Australia’s animal health and where they could access biosecurity expertise when needed.

“The Department regularly works with the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University to assist with biosecurity and veterinary pathology information for students,” Dr Besier said.

“We recognised, however, that final-year vet students would benefit from a more holistic understanding of how the Department supports animal health with biosecurity and diagnostic expertise.

“While many of these students will not work with livestock every day, companion animal vets may see new and emerging diseases in wildlife or diseases in companion animals that can also affect livestock.

“As part of the training, students are introduced to the roles of Department vets, especially the support our veterinary pathologists can provide when newly graduated vets are confronted with an unfamiliar animal disease situation.

“Following a tour of the Department’s laboratory, the students participate in a large animal necropsy at Murdoch University under the supervision of Murdoch University Pathology Registrar Cynthia Robveille.”

Dr Besier said that ensuring the students were aware of the most effective sampling techniques for livestock or companion animals had four major benefits.

“First, they contribute to a rapid, accurate diagnosis,” he said.

“They also protect the vet, clients and consumers from zoonoses – diseases of animals that people can catch.

“Sound veterinary techniques also benefit individual producers by improving on-farm biosecurity and reducing disease spread between animals and between farms.

“And finally, the students learn how data from veterinary investigations support Western Australia and Australia’s excellent animal health status and protect our livestock industries’ access to domestic and export markets.”

Dr Besier said the student rotations would occur twice monthly during 2018.

“Initial feedback from the students has been very positive and we hope that exposure to the training will encourage the students to consider career paths that support WA’s livestock industries,” he said.

For more information about how government and private vets, producers and industry work together to gather surveillance data that supports our animal health status and ongoing access to markets, see the video Animal Health Surveillance in WA.