We regret to report that Michael R. Muirhead BVM&S DPM FRCVS, the internationally famous pioneer of pig medicine passed away, aged 66 in Hull Royal Infirmary on Saturday 4th January 2003 following a stroke on January 2nd.
Mike was born on 23rd May 1936 and his capacity for leadership was manifested early when he attended Bloxham School, Banbury, England and rose to be Head of School.
In 1954, under the compulsory National Service, Mike joined the legendary Royal Marines 45 Commando Unit and saw service in Cyprus, North Africa and Malta, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant and receiving the Sword of Honour and the Royal Navy's General Service Medal.
Mike studied veterinary medicine at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School, University of Edinburgh, and was awarded the Silver Medal in Medicine and Surgery.
After graduation in 1961, Mike entered mixed practice in Doncaster for two years then joined a dairy practice in Shropshire. In 1965 he moved to the small village of Beeford in Yorkshire, where he joined the now world-famous Garth Veterinary Group - then a small mixed practice with a growing clientele in the fast-growing turkey and pig industries.
In 1979 Mike Muirhead was elected to Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on presentation of his thesis "Intensive Pig Production - Studies in Preventative Medicine." He went on to be one of the first holders of the RCVS Diploma in Pig Medicine in 1984 and became chairman of examiners for both the Pig Medicine Diploma and Certificate.
Mike was co-author of three reference books on pig health and reproduction, a regular contributor to "International Pigletter" and published more than 60 papers on pig management and disease control. In 1977 he won the William Hunting Award from the Veterinary Record for the best clinical paper and in 1980 the prestigious David Black award for services to the UK pig industry and in 1995, the Bledisloe Award from the National Agricultural Society of England. In 1989 the British Veterinary Association recognised his outstanding services to veterinary science with the Dalrymple-Champney's Cup and Medal.
USA veterinarians, with whom Mike shared a long and fruitful relationship, recognized his talents on many occasions, particularly with the award of the Allen D. Leman "Science in Practice" Award from the University of Minnesota in 2000.
Mike Muirhead's eldest son, Jim, writes "Right until the end Mike remained fully active. In addition to his legal work as an Expert Witness, he was deeply involved with the problems associated with PMWS and was in the process of compiling the 2nd edition of Managing Pig Health and the Treatment of Disease plus writing a book for Pet Pig Owners and was part way through his 'Piggy Peter' project (a compilation of 26 educational children's stories).
Mike was a very devoted family man. He married Louise in 1962 and had three sons: James, Nicholas and Nigel and six grandchildren.
Mike will be greatly missed by us all!