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|Herdsman mistakes can be avoided|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Herd Health|
|Written by Tom Fuhrmann|
|Monday, 02 May 2011 08:42|
An important part of a herdsman’s job is to treat sick cows. Good herdsmen draw upon their knowledge, experience and what they learn from the owners of their dairies, veterinarians or other specialists. But the best herdsmen not only do the right thing, they do the right thing all the time.
1. Problem: You don’t do a thorough physical examination all the time.
You find a fresh cow with an elevated temperature and assume she has metritis, for which you treat her. She doesn’t respond but milkers pull her two days later with mastitis.
Solution: A thorough physical examination would have identified that the uterus was normal (use of a palpation sleeve) and you would have found the mastitis, because you would have continued to look for the cause of the elevated temperature after ruling out metritis.
2. Problem: You fail to identify all the sick cow’s problems.
Solution: Using the stethoscope to evaluate the rumen and stomachs on the initial examination would have found the DA (displaced abomasum) that was the initial cause of the ketosis.
3. Problem: You fail to make a specific diagnosis on a lame cow.
Solution: You should elevate the foot of every lame cow and make a diagnosis before initiating treatment. Many lameness problems are the result of sole abscess, laminitis, hairy wart or toe overgrowth, which do not require antibiotic therapy.
4. Problem: You automatically treat every cow that comes into the hospital.
Your employer, however, wants to cull the cow. He can’t now, because she has antibiotics in her system.
Solution: Ask your employer to give you criteria to know when to always treat, when to never treat and when to ask him/her before you treat.
5. Problem: You fail to write down every treatment for every medicine used to treat a sick cow.
Solution: Write down every medicine you use and the route by which you administer it every day. Regulators are evaluating meat and milk more closely than ever to monitor for residues. They require the person treating the animals keep accurate records to protect the dairy and eliminate the risk of residues.
Consulting the records before culling this cow could have avoided the tissue residue problem. You would have also learned that you used Banamine incorrectly; it should always be injected in the vein rather than in the muscle when using it in dairy cattle.
The difference between a good herdsman and a great herdsman may not be experience or knowledge. Many times it’s attitude. Are you willing to follow the tips I’ve outlined … every time? EL