Farm Animal Services


The R(D)SVS Farm Animal Practice operates a first opinion practice serving dairy, beef, sheep, pig and camelid farms in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

We also operate referral services where vets in private practice can send in patients for specialist investigations and surgery, such as lame pedigree bulls. The Dairy Herd Health and Productivity Service (DHHPS) has provided specialist farm animal advisory services since 1977, focusing on nutritional monitoring and improvement of herd/flock health.

Our people

Our clinical staff have advanced postgraduate qualifications; either a PhD, RCVS Certificates, RCVS Advanced Practitioner status, Diploma in Bovine Reproduction, and RCVS or European College Diplomas. All our farm animal vets have Official Veterinarian status to undertake work for the government. Our staff are involved in specialist clinical services such as Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Dairy Mastitis Control Plan, AHDB Dairy Mobility Mentor, Scottish BVD eradication scheme and BCVA Accredited Johne’s Veterinary Advisors. They regularly give talks at both national (Sheep Veterinary Society, British Cattle Veterinary Society, London Vet Show) and international (World Buiatrics Congress, International Sheep Veterinary Congress) level. They also undertake advisory work with overseas projects in India and Africa, and are regularly asked to be External Examiners at other UK vet schools and universities.

Our facilities

For work on local farms, we operate a fleet of vehicles with all the equipment needed by modern farm animal veterinary practitioners, such as transrectal ultrasound scanners for fertility examinations. Our Farm Animal Hospital contains facilities for housing cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas, so that our students can be taught examination and diagnostic techniques safely to enhance their learning experience. We also have isolation facilities to enable us to treat farm animals (including referral cases) so that they can be returned to their farm of origin.

The R(D)SVS has a 240-cow dairy herd at Langhill Farm and a 300-ewe sheep flock at Easter Bush, which are used extensively for teaching animal husbandry and clinical skills to our students.

Our teaching

We are involved in teaching all aspects of the undergraduate BVM&S course, from animal husbandry and handling in Year 1 all the way through to clinical rotations in final year. We regularly supervise undergraduate students doing clinical research projects on farms and farm animal veterinary practices. We also provide online Masters in Veterinary Science (MVetSci) Advanced Clinical Practice Production Animal Track Courses to teach clinical skills to qualified vets.

The School is an approved training centre of Residents for the European College of Bovine Health Management (ECBHM) and European College of Small Ruminant Health Management (ECSRHM). All farm animal staff are Fellows or Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Authority.

Our research section is involved in clinical research in cattle and sheep, with particular emphasis on parasitology, neonatal calf and lamb health, nutrition, animal welfare and advanced monitoring of animal health. Our staff regularly publish work in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as publications in the agricultural and veterinary press.