Beneficial to Both Parties


Every summer, the College of Veterinary Medicine offers the Swine Veterinary Internship Program (SVIP).

The program attracts veterinary medicine interns not only from Iowa State but throughout the country. Students have the opportunity to collaborate with leading veterinarians in the swine industry. Students not only learn the principles of swine herd health management but how to design and execute field research.

The benefits to the student interns are enormous.

But just as importantly there is a benefit to the industrial partners who work with the students on research projects.

One of those companies is The Maschhoffs, an Illinois-based company that raises more than 4 million pigs a year. One of the issues The Maschhoffs faced was Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, a bacteria that can cause respiratory issues in pigs.

This can be very costly to the swine industry due to its negative effects on growth rate and feed efficiency among herds.

For more than 15 years, SVIP interns from Iowa State have descended upon The Maschhoffs, conducting research on the disease and other projects.

“The research conducted by the interns at The Maschhoffs have helped us be more consistent and controlled in Mhp exposure programs as well as influence our internal health assurance diagnostic testing program for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae,” said Dr. Amy Maschhoff. “The lessons we learned through this research has been incorporated into our company’s core health protocols and programs.”

It's not just studying Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae where the SVIP program has assisted The Maschhoffs and other similar companies. Internship projects have helped the swine industry understand and improve feedback protocols, PRRS vaccine protocols, while also improving training documents.

“SVIP is a win-win for both the student, the mentor and the company,” Maschhoff said. “We always learn from one another, and students leave a long and lasting impact on their mentors.

“The Maschhoffs has always prided itself on the ability to grow, train, develop and network with future generations of leaders within the swine industry,” she continued. “We have benefitted from SVIP internships as our company has several current employees who went through our internship programs.”

June 2024