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"I'm just as concerned as any other mom for what my kids are eating," says swine veterinarian Dr. Tara Donovan in this Vets On Call story. "I think we do a great job raising pork and need to be proud of it."

As Dr. Donovan checks the health of a herd of pigs in a barn in Iowa, she says, "Pigs are a cool animal, they're really curious and very friendly. I was always taught we're raising animals for food, they're here for a purpose, so it's our job to make sure we take good care of them. Their care is in our hands."

Dr. Donovan, past president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, observes that sometimes pigs do get sick and "It's our jobs as vets to make them healthy and treat them with the right therapy." In her experience, having compassion for animals includes administering antibiotics judiciously when necessary to cure sick animals.

"Food safety has to be a primary consideration," she adds, explaining that pigs need to be cured of sickness before being presented to market, and adding that the federal FDA has established withdrawal times for medicines used in food animals. A withdrawal time is the amount of time the farmer has to wait after they've administered a medicine before they can present the pig to market.

In Dr. Donovan's experience, sick animals should not be allowed to suffer. "You can ask any veterinarian, we have to relieve animal suffering."

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Veterinarians On Call is presented by Zoetis. Those who appear were not compensated to participate and the opinions expressed are theirs.

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