The struggle is real – working in peri-urban practice

How many of us are faced with the following scenarios?

  • A phone call on Friday afternoon from a hobby farmer with a geriatric bull they would like to have euthanased ….and sorry, can you bring an offsider as we don’t have a crush or yards?
  • How about the phone call from a client with a flock of backyard chickens showing vague respiratory disease.
  • Or a lame “mini” pig from Bondi Beach that gets fed the occasional sausage off the BBQ

Is this familiar? The Australian Veterinarians in Public Health SIG understand.  

We have partnered with Agriculture Victoria, NSW DPI, The University of Melbourne, Charles Sturt University and 3M to bring you a one day workshop for veterinary practitioners who work with smallholder farmers.

The workshop will be chaired by Dr Caitlin Pfeiffer (University of Melbourne) and Dr Sarah Britton (NSW Department of Primary Industries).

The aim of this workshop is to provide private veterinary practitioners with the skills to engage and provide a better service to smallholder farmers.  Practitioners who deal with smallholder farmers or see the occasional pig, chicken, or other livestock, will benefit from this workshop.

This workshop is interactive and practical - we’re calling all vets that want to get in and give it a go! Be prepared for a day of interesting and helpful activities that can be readily used in your vet practice.” – Dr Sarah Britton.

This workshop is part of three activities that have been designed to work as one offs or attended as part of a group to help veterinarians work with small holders in Australia.

  1. Small holder Webinar on 18 May with Drs Marta Hernandez-Jover, Kevin Doyle and Guy Weerasinghe
  2. E-learning course for vets working with smallholders and backyard livestock
  3. The AVPH workshop on 9 June in Melbourne

Registrations for the small holder webinar can be made via the AVA website:

Registrations for the workshop can be made via the AVA Conference website -

For further details, please contact Dr Sarah Britton on

and Caitlin Pfeiffer on

What do the speakers have to say:


What do you think are some of the hurdles private practitioners face when seeing small holder farmers?

  • I fixed the sick cow, but I’m also concerned about the client’s management of their pigs/chickens/sheep – how can I help them?
  • The client doesn’t seem to understand that there are legal requirements for their livestock keeping
  • They are really keen to use “natural” treatments, how can I help them understand why conventional medications are needed?

Who do you think should do this workshop?

  • If your clients keep livestock that they can tell you about by name, you will benefit from this workshop
  • If you want to increase your confidence and competence to work with pet livestock and other less common species

What would you like practitioners to walk away with after the day?

  • Feeling competent to take calls from smallholder clients, and confident that you can offer them value for money when you’re visiting their place


What do you think are some of the hurdles private practitioners face when seeing small holder farmers?

  • Vet's lack of confidence or knowledge to treat species they are not familiar with, e.g. small animal vets seeing livestock, pigs or poultry
  • Poor or lack of facilities, WHS issues and difficult to examine animals
  • Client's lack of knowledge of husbandry, welfare, regulatory issues, legal requirements
  • Client's financial restraints
  • Smallholder clients prefer to call the neighbour or Dr Google rather than the vet

Who do you think should do this workshop?

This workshop is applicable to all vets in urban and semi-rural practice. It is targeted to those vets who may occasionally see backyard chickens, pigs or livestock and see people with small acreage and animals. This is probably most vets in Australia! Even the production animal vets will benefit from the course as the smallholders are often the risk to their larger clients.

What would you like practitioners to walk away with after the day?

  • How to provide a comprehensive veterinary service to small holders - know how to engage and communicate with them
  • How to get around the challenges of poor facilities - humane euthanasia on small holdings
  • Improved knowledge of species that they don't usually see
  • Chook PM 101- what to look for, what samples to collect, who to call
  • Get fit tested so you are properly protected when wearing PPE
  • Tips and tools from the experts to help working with small holders much easier

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