Friday, November 16, 2007

Bovine Veterinary Science In A Nutshell-The Thermometer method

If your cow is not eating, stick a thermometer in her rectum. Leave it there for 30 seconds if it's made of glass (the thermomter). It helps to keep a string on it so you don't have to fish it out of the gutter or the cow. Read it and interpret the results.

101.0-The cow is hypocalcemic. It may be secondary to paraparturient milk production or secondary to indigestion. If she's standing, run a bottle of calcium gluconate under the skin. If she's down, you probably skipped the thermometer and went straight to the IV calcium.

101.5-The cow is normal. Either she's having you on, or she's full, or trouble is incipient.

102.0-102.5 - A mild infection, such as pneumonia. A shot of ceftiofur, often only one, will put her right in 12 hours. Ceftiofur is another miracle drug. If it doesn't put her right, further investigation is warranted.

104.0-107.0-Udder trouble. Lots of treatment options. You decide.

And that's about all you need to know. You can check the urine for ketosis, if you like. Feeding a low-level ionophore has seemingly eliminated DAs here.

Now I can just hear the handwringers and tonguecluckers: "Ohhh! These poor cows get sick?" Well, yes, they do. But the modern cow is a whole lot healthier that the old-time cows on the mom and pop 25-cow farm, whose growth and production were stunted by low quality feed, poor ventilation, and other forms of abuse. Contrary to myth, the high-producing modern cow is not "pushed" to high production. She is coaxed and babied. The HPMC is the healthy, happy cow. The cows out there scrabbling for the last blades of grass on the sacred "pasture" mandated by organic definitions are being abused. If you give that cow a choice, I can absolutely guarantee what it will be. A clean, dry, warm stall with good feed delivered, and if she can go out every now and then, she'll be happy.


Caleb said...

Had a great lecture from a large animal vet/MBA yesterday. Remind me to tell you about it over thanksgiving.

Laura said...

My professor was talking about his organic co-op yesterday and I rolled my eyes very exaggeratedly and he saw me. I am really good at making my professors like me.

When is everyone coming home for thanksgiving? I'll be home wednesday night.

Caleb said...

dunno yet. Either Tuesday evening to stay, Tuesday evening then leaving wednesday and back thursday morning, or thursday morning. Who knows?

Luke said...

I'll be home Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Dad said...

I'm already home! We got out early.

Mom said...

I would just like the tonguecluckers and handwringers to bear in mind, please, that the sick cow you described will get ceftiofur or most, if not all, of the various treatment options for udder trouble you mentioned only if she is lucky enough to live on a conventional farm. If she is unfortunate enough to be a sick cow on an organic farm, she will get none of the above and will be left to suffer for weeks while the humane and progressive organic farmer messes around with homeopathy until either she gets better on her own, or she doesn't.

I don't know if they even allow thermometers in those places.

Mom said...

Thanksgiving news:

Grandma and Grandpa Frey will be here for turkey dinner -- arriving Wednesday, leaving I'm not sure when. Maybe Uncle Pete, too.

Also, Clippingers are coming for dessert on Thursday.

Party time!

Caleb said...

Actually, the vets I've talked to who service organic farms pretty much feel its their duty to give a cow that is that sick antibiotics. It's not that they don't get treatment, it's that then they have to leave the organic herd and get to go be normal, non-hippie cows.

Dad said...

Aw, c'mon, Mom, lighten up. The cows on organic farms are so much healthier than the cows on conventional farms they don't need antibiotics.

The Jersey Club classifier told me that she had read that on a percentage basis, organic farms contaminate more loads of milk with ABX than do conventional farms. Which is why it is said that the difference between organic and conventional is whether you keep the abx in the barn or in the house.

Dad said...

Caleb, the vets will see a tiny fraction of the cows that need abx, especially intramammary abx. The farmers who are organic for religious reasons may do as you say, but only if they have a second facility. No farmer, honestly, would sell a treated or sick cow without trying to fix her first. it's abig loss.

The farmers who are not religious will treat the cow with ABX and withhold her milk and put her back in the tank when she's clear. Who's gonna know? What difference does it make?

Organic is bullshit on every level. What's magical about 120 days of pasture? What's pasture exactly?

Aw, lighten up.

Our somatic cell count on 11/15:

Dad said...

Laura, when I hear "professors" talking about their organic coops I wonder why I ever sent my kids to college.

Laura said...

He is my sociology of organizations professor and we were talking about democratic businesses, thats how it came up. He wasn't just blabbing about it for now reason.

Would any non-hippie cow farmers want to buy an ex-hippie cow? Do cows get vaccines?

Laura said...

And by now I mean no.