Ross Kiehne, DVM, practices what he calls “precision animal health.”
“I’m only going to provide the vaccine or antibiotic that’s right for the pig at that time in its life to make it as healthy as possible,” the swine veterinarian says in a video produced as part of the Vets on Call series.
Growing up on the family farm, Kiehne says he witnessed the high level of livestock care shown by his father, who taught his son that the farmer is “the guardian of the welfare of the animals first and foremost.”
“We have to speak for them because they can’t speak for themselves,” stressed Kiehne, with the Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, Minn. “I take that pretty seriously.”
Visiting a farrowing room, Kiehne focuses on the health and welfare of the sow and her recently born piglets.
“We want to find the right environment for them,” he says. “These sows have feed and water at all times; the sow is contained; it’s safe for the piglets to move around her all the time in a warm, dry environment.”
Even though he’s not in every swine barn every day, he can help the people who are by showing them what to look for and how to give the best care possible to the animals.
“Half of my job as a veterinarian is devoted to training the people who will take care of the pigs on a daily basis.”
And that involves treating sick animals. Kiehne says the welfare of the animal is much better if sick animals are treated with the proper antibiotic until they recover.
“We want everyone to understand where their pork comes from; this is how it’s made and we feel pretty good about it,” he says.
Vets on Call is a video series presented by Zoetis to showcase the important roles veterinarians play in food-animal production.