Monday, June 25, 2018

pinkeye time once again - keep it under control

Article in BEEF magazine summarizes the main points to keep the costly and contagious pinkeye disease out of or minimized in your herd this summer.

Can't say enough - Fly Control for me would be points 1, 2, and 3!

Beef Magazine - Pinkeye 5 points

Thursday, December 14, 2017

winter chores

this headline just came across yesterday and with the recent snow and onset of daily hay feeding, the extra work of getting that wrap and twine off is important - happy winter thursday!

Cut those bale wraps and twine

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Clients and Patience

Happy Summer on this Independence Day!

Spring rush is tapering off, but show season lies just ahead and looking forward to seeing all the 4H and other show animals getting ready for county fairs, state shows and september dairy & beef regional exhibitions.

I would like to thank everyone over the recent seasons which have been very busy for a solo practitioner for all of your patience waiting for things to be scheduled while a necessary emergency diverted me and growing number of clients in different areas having not just cows, but sheep and goats, camelids, and all sort of farm animals - including a few honeybee clients needing attention for VFD's! Am very grateful to all for the support and patience while getting to your farms as quickly as can - always liked the expression when asked when i'll be there,  "just look for a cloud of dust coming down the drive" and i'll be right there - hope to make that rapid response more the norm again.

And on that front - will have a nice announcement for the practice in coming days on an important new addition so that the plural practice name of Acorn Farmvets is well and truly that!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

First Annual Tri-State Cattle Symposium Nov 14 2015

Come to the first annual Tri-State Cattle Symposium this Saturday! Sussex Fairgrounds starting 9-9:30
Below is a note from Scott Turner -
Please know that while we desire to have pre-registrations for lunch count and seating, if you just show up we will gladly accommodate you. If you are not certain if you are registered and would like to, respond directly to Scott or Jon and we will take care of it.
It is an educationally packed day for the beef Cattlemen and women at no cost to you as the sponsors are picking up the costs. There is a lineup of speakers that will be worth hearing and give you ideas and advice that you can take home and use with your herd.
Attached is the information on the program.

Friday, February 6, 2015

calving season around corner - when to assist and when to call the veterinarian

As spring and calving season nears, it's a good time to review best practices for calving. 
This article in Beef Magazine authored by  has some very useful points to help maximize live calves and healthy dams. The important takeaway points have been put in bold.

The crew at Ashland Veterinary Center is a lot busier this calving season. And that’s just fine with them.
It’s not because the veterinarians look forward to spending more time at the back end of a cow. It’s because they know they’re helping clients better manage their calving season and deliver more live, healthy calves.
Randall Spare, president of Ashland Veterinary Center in Ashland, Kan., and one of four vets at the operation, says the torrid cattle market is a big reason for their busy schedules. “We’ve assisted more people because they’ve said, ‘I don’t want to mess this up. That calf is too valuable.’ ”
But that’s true regardless of the current market. You can’t sell a calf that didn’t survive calving. To that end, Spare and his crew advise cattle producers to not be shy about calling their veterinarian when dealing with dystocia, or a difficult calving.
According to Dale Grotelueschen, a DVM and director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center at Clay Center, Neb., the calving process is divided into three stages.
  • In the first stage, the cow or heifer becomes restless. “She may get up and lie down more often and move around,” he says, and often will isolate herself from the herd.
  • Stage 2 begins when the water bag appears, and it includes the delivery process.
  • Stage 3 is expulsion of fetal membranes and involution of the uterus, he says.
Stage 1 can last 12 hours or it can be two hours, Spare says. “The challenge is not that every animal is different, but that we need to see progression,” he says. “If they’ve quit straining, then we need to intervene.”
In fact, Spare sums up his entire philosophy of when to help deliver a calf with one word: progression. “We need to see progression from the time calving starts. And that really means when they’re off by themselves.”

Since calving difficulty is more often a problem in heifers, Spare suggests this timeline for progression: “When I see them off by themselves starting heavy labor, I want to see that water bag in about 30 to 45 minutes. Then in another 30 minutes, see the feet inside the water bag. Then in another 30 minutes, see the nose; and 30 minutes after that, we need to have a calf.”
Spare realizes that’s a finite timetable and cattle don’t pay attention to timetables, so it will vary. But his point is this: things need to keep moving at a reasonable clip. “I’d rather have people err on the side of caution,” he says, “so at any time when progression stops, intervene.”
Beyond watching the clock, there are some signs to look for that a cow and calf need some assistance, Grotelueschen says. “If the legs present normally and the calf’s nose is there, and the calf’s tongue or nose starts to swell, that’s an indication of delayed progress.”
What do you need to do? “We get that animal up and restrained properly in a clean area where we can safely assist her,” Spare says. By safe, he means the safety of the cow as well as the safety of the people.
That doesn’t mean a rope around her horns and snubbed up tight to a fence post. A squeeze chute will work, as will any sort of safe head catch with gates that open, in an area that’s cleanable. “It can be a dirt floor that we wipe clean and throw lime on. Or it can be concrete that we wash down between animals. But we need to have access to that animal to properly examine her.”

Dealing with a bad presentation

In the examination, you’re looking for a normal presentation, with the calf’s two front feet visible with the tips of the hooves pointing up, followed by the calf’s nose a few inches behind, Grotelueschen says. If a hoof or the head is back, or it’s a breech, the calf can be manipulated to get everything lined up. But a hoof or head out of position might be a symptom of another problem.
In a normal presentation, the calf’s front hooves are facing forward with the tips up, and the calf’s nose is an inch or two behind. A breech presentation can be a challenging dystocia presentation. But with training, producers can learn how to manipulate the fetus to make delivery easier. A calf can be delivered when in a posterior presentation, but may require assistance. If you see hooves but no head, don’t assume the calf is coming backward. The head may be back. An examination will help determine the problem. All illustrations courtesy of Oklahoma State University.

“Many times, with an abnormal presentation, particularly with a heifer, it means the birth canal isn’t big enough for the calf,” Spare says. Using a calf puller in that situation only makes things worse.
That’s a situation where having a good relationship with your vet is helpful. Food-animal vets are always willing to help their clients learn what they can do in the field, Spare says. And when your vet knows you and your abilities, it can save time and calves when assistance is needed. Spare has clients who, when they bring a dystocia case to the clinic, he knows they’ve done everything they can. “We don’t even try to pull the calf. We do a cesarean,” Spare says.

How to provide assistance

Begin by properly attaching obstetrical (OB) chains with handles and pulling manually, he says. “But it’s at this point we tell people, ‘Know your limitations and know your comfort level.’ There’s a short period of time where the survivability of both the cow and the calf is a lot better if the intervention hasn’t gone beyond their ability.”
And intervention not only helps assure a live calf, but a better cow. “We’re not only thinking about a live calf, but we’re thinking about a healthy, functioning animal that will breed back,” Spare says.
So when do you call the vet? “When you’ve gone to the limit of your ability to safely assist that calf,” Spare says.
If pulling manually doesn’t work, a calf puller often comes into play. While that’s a common tool, use it carefully, Grotelueschen says. “I think we’ve learned over many years and with experience that we need to approach this as assisting the delivery, and knowing that many calf pullers can exert far too much tension than is safe for the calf and the dam,” he cautions. “So we need to exercise caution and not get ourselves into positions where we exert too much force.”
Spare agrees. “When you start to pull a calf with a calf puller, know that you’re merely assisting uterine contractions to move [the calf along] the birth canal. And if there comes a point where progress has stopped because the calf appears to be too big in comparison with the birth canal, that’s probably the time to stop [using the calf puller] also.”
And he cautions to limit yourself to calf pullers you can control manually. That means no pickups, four-wheelers and tractors.

Birthweight genetics are better

While Spare and the other veterinarians at the clinic are assisting in more deliveries this year than in past years, they’re doing fewer cesareans. “We do 10% of the cesareans on beef cattle today than we did 25 years ago,” he says. He chalks that up to better genetics. “You can have growth genetics using top 10% birthweight bulls,” he says.
If you’re experiencing a high rate of calving difficulty, take a hard look at your bulls. With the genetic choices available today, Spare believes the accepted norm for dystocia incidence in beef heifers should be no more than 5%.
“Today, with the labor issues we have, more than ever, the last thing you need to do is be assisting a cow.” While you’ll never totally eliminate dystocia, using bulls in the top 10% of their breed for calving ease as heifer bulls will keep you between the guardrails, he says.
For clients who do that, Spare says their biggest challenge becomes helping the heifers be good mamas. And that’s a good challenge to have. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sheep Breeders Meeting - parasite talk

Any interested sheep, goat, or camelid breeders/owners welcome thursday night for GSSB meeting and presentation by acornembryo - dr pike & higgins on ruminant parasites and proper control and management measures

Hunterdon County Offices - on Route 12, 7pm Thursday 13 November

Sunday, June 8, 2014

pre-weaned lambs and worms

Right now many of the spring lambs are at the point where weaning will be occurring, if it hasn't already. as cool spring grasses begin to slow in growth, pastures can be over-grazed and this can lead to increased parasite pressure, especially from the barberpole worm (h.contortus). while they may become dormant in prolonged drought and heat, the younger animals particularly are susceptible and can easily help these parasites multiply.

When sampling fecals to check on the need to deworm, include samples from some of this years lambs and treat them if indicated. It will help them wean off better, make better use of the creep feed that may be provided and get them to target weights for those breeding early ewes to lamb as yearlings.

Treat smart as well. Using Safeguard or Valbazen(the benzimidazole class), often it is recommended to double the dose, and also hold sheep off feed prior briefly; this will help increase the effective concentration of dewormer in the gut. Don't use give dewormer as an injectable(such as ivomec - drench form is fine)in small ruminants - the long tail of declining concentration when given that way can lead to resistance developing more rapidly. And if you haven't used Ivomec - don't go immediately to Cydectin drench(moxidectin). If you develop resistance to that drug, you'll also have created resistance to Ivomec too - instead, keep using Ivomec until you find it isn't working. Save Cydectin for when you need to treat a resistant population.

Do you see this? Here is a very anemic animal, evident in the pale conjunctiva

Besides other clinical signs(bottle jaw/anemia, ill-thrift and weight loss, lagging behind flock)how best to find if your dewormer isn't working? Test fecals before and after. Treat the animals that need it and not everybody on a random calendar date. Treatment of parasites in small ruminants is a complex equation often. Questions of timing, testing, and how to treat? Ask your flock veterinarian on these and other questions, such as how to handle new arrivals to keep those resistant worms off your pastures. You will not only boost the performance of your animals but keep the dewormers working by avoiding or minimizing resistance.

And hope for timely rains this summer - to keep these pastures growing along with the sheep and lambs on them.