Friday, October 16, 2009

klebsiella mastitis

QMPS Cornell lab has a nice brochure out to help guide treatment of this type of mastitis - quite informative and when you have cows cultured with this organism, very worthwhile to follow the advice. I've seen a number of these over the past year, typically presenting as chronic mastitis cases that don't respond to most antibiotic treatments. Prognosis is guarded for them and be careful to milk them last to limit spread to other animals.

here's the brochure:

Monday, July 6, 2009

mixing dogs and cows

This article actually cites three separate and recent attacks, one of which killed a veterinarian and another in which the former British home secretary was injured. All occured when people walking their dogs through public access pastures were attacked.

Not many walking paths in pastures here in NJ, but a reminder to watch for visitors or neighbors to pastures that might bring dogs around cattle areas and thus limiting your chances of finding new areas of liability you didn't know existed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

more dairy adverts

Here are some very nice promotional videos and webpages from DairyNZ, including tv commercials and pages showing a typical day on the farm in New Zealand, and others showing what happens different seasons of the year. Very nice work and presentation of the dairy industry. (thanks to Dr Leduc, Reporoa NZ for passing this along)

TV Commercials
A Day in the Life
A Year on the Farm

Saturday, April 25, 2009

healthy animals = healthy people

Now here's something I've told many of the dairy and beef clients here for years...

"Veterinarians and livestock farmers: a winning partnership"

That's the theme of this year's World Veterinary Day, which is today and celebrated the last Saturday of April each year.

Some more information from the British Veterinary Association is shown here

The pictured scene? Not the Jersey shore! - it's farmers in The Gambia herding some of their cattle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

vaccines and beer!

I just read this article in Beef Magazine(written by Clint Peck, Director, Beef Quality Assurance, Montana State University)and he highlights many of the concerns i've spoken to producers about regarding vaccine use and handling, as well as providing a particularly apt analogy. Treat your vaccines like beer!

1. storage and handling is essential - improperly handled vaccine might look good in the bottle, but be worthless in protecting your cows.

2. vaccines are fragile - they must be kept chilled in a proper cooler, but never frozen. if doing large groups, mix/rehydrate vaccines as you go, but not all at once - as the article states, is every beer opened at the beginning and set on the fence or tailgate to be used a few hours later warm and flat? With any vaccine that is re-mixed, there are modified-live components in them that need to be in the cow - not out in the sun, and not warming up over several hours.

3. likewise with a partially open vial of vaccine/can of beer - don't save it till the next day. chuck it in the bin - the few dollars lost not saving it is trivial compared to the animals left unprotected because they were vaccinated with a vaccine worthless because of mis-handling.

4. important point about syringes and needles - they do cite washing syringes, which is more typical in larger feedlot operations. here, the best advice is using disposables and changing needles. they too are cheap compared with spreading disease cow to cow and/or vaccine inactivation due to presence of soap/disinfectant on the needles and syringe.

to quote the article, "if you don't do it to your beer, don't do it to your vaccine".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

test, don't guess

many mastitis cases, especially chronic ones, would benefit from being diagnosed - you may find something that is a surprise and that will result in a different treatment or different management to eliminate future cases.

some cases that 'look' like a coliform can be staph aureus; definitely a case where the cow should be managed differently to prevent further infection to the herd. other times what looks like a typical coliform isn't e.coli - a recent case seen in an on-again/off-again mastitis cow showed a klebsiella when i cultured her here. that is a very tough organism to cure and her quarter was dried up.

preliminary results can be seen as soon as 18-24 hours for some cases, so if you have an increase in mastitis cases, or increasing SCC, save samples aseptically and freeze or call and arrange to get them here so they can be plated right away and you can find out what is the cause instead of guessing.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

norz-hill sale

on a gorgeous spring day, the norz-hill dairy sold their milking holsteins, having a very strong sale, averaging close to $1,700, with cows selling to 11 states and canada.

news coverage included video from channel 4 new york and new jersey network, plus this photo gallery from the courier-news

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

take two aspirin and ?

Giving your cows aspirin for pain relief? some new research from Kansas State University shows that it because it has a half-life of 30 minutes, it must be dosed at least twice a day, if not more frequently. Another fact was that oral aspirin showed a very poor bioavailability to the cow - only 30% was available to be absorbed.

As an example, pain-relief/analgesia for dehorning. All calves should be nerve blocked(lidocaine injected around the cornual nerve)which is a simple method of lowering the stress and pain of hot-iron dehorning. Lidocaine is not long-lasting though and consideration should be given for a longer lasting analgesia - prescribed use of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as flunixin(given IV)can provide a continued relief to the calf at this time, lowering stress and helping them recover more quickly. Aspirin in these situations is likely not the most appropriate medication to give an animal to provide more long-lasting pain relief. And if you're not using a cornual nerve block for dehorning your calves - you should! Just ask, and at the next farm visit, it can be demonstrated and put into use for your animals.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

norzhill sale

two weeks from today the norz-hill cows and bred heifers will sell - some really nice well bred holstein cows, with over 22 EX cows having been bred here in hillsborough new jersey - 270+ head will sell on april 2nd.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the view

what do cows see? almost everything; nearly a 360 degree view around them when their heads are lowered and grazing because of the placement of their eyes on the sides of their head and the horizontal pupils. that kind of wide view is a huge advantage to prey animals like sheep and cattle but something to keep in mind is that they don't have much depth perception and have week eye muscles, keeping them from focusing quickly. ever wonder why when driving a tractor in the field a cow might not move nearly until the tire touches her? she may not know if you are 5 feet or 30 feet away, even though it happens nearly daily. watch them to see what they do - raising the head up and down is their attempt to focus and gain information on how close something is to them. realizing how they see the world can help with handling - the poor depth perception can make even a shadow on the ground look like deep hole and thus the cows balk at crossing it(or finally decide to leap over it, as many holsteins do over the gutter). when handling cattle remember they don't like being approached in a straight line, and especially if you are directly behind them; the opposite of what you want will happen as they will turn and face you. approach from the sides and let them see you there - also by keeping moving instead of being completely still this reassures the animal that you are not a predator and that you want to see and be identified. and don't forget the blind spot right behind the cow - walking up directly behind a cow, especially a kicker, without letting her know you're there will be a good way try and not get hurt.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

by the nose

using an intranasal vaccine can help provide effective immunity at the spot where it is estimated 95% of infections enter the body - a new vaccine called Onset allows vaccination for IBR/PI3/BRSV/BVD without an injection and sidesteps the problem of 'maternal antibody interference'(protection passed to the calf from the dam’s milk that can prevent an immune response to vaccination) because of the vaccination site of the nasal mucosa.

i like the idea of this approach and the newer research showing that even calves right at birth have a fully competent immune system ready without worrying about the colostral antibodies will be very useful in helping calves get off to an even better start.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

milk ads

not a 'got milk' ad but one of a nice series of ads from the Swiss Milk Producers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

treat her nice and pack her with ice

sometimes after a difficult calving it can be a great help to the cow to take a rectal sleeve of ice (or snow if it's around)and lube that up and insert gently into the vagina; it seems really big, but she probably just had a 100lb calf come out the other way with difficulty. one thing they need though to do this properly is an epidural - it numbs that area and can also be a help in preventing the straining that comes along with a lacerated birth canal. once the bag of ice is in, i lean a bale of hay against the vulva to help keep it in and usually tie a bale string around the sleeve to make sure it doesn't go to far inward. the ice can help with some of the inflammation that is present and may go aways towards alleviating some of the complications of a difficult birth, including nerve paralysis.

Friday, February 13, 2009

goat fencing

advice heard from a goat farmer on how to make the perfect goat fence: to check that fence is okay for goats, fill pasture with water, if fence holds water, it will hold goats

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

warts and all

it's a long time till show season, but a good time to start planning how to avoid the usual warts and ringworm that crop up 1 week before the show. in particular, avoiding warts, which are caused by a virus, can be done with help from wart vaccine. the vaccine is not really good at reducing existing lesions, but it can help with prevention and by giving it now, you build up that immunity to keep warts away in july-august. the vaccine can cause some lumps and bumps in some animals, so give it low and on the left side, usually behind the shoulder. and as with any vaccine, see that you have a current vial of epinephrine ready to go if there is a reaction.

ringworm is another story - long-lasting lesion and also persists in the environment. one dairyman had an interesting suggestion on how he kept it away at show time. in february or march, he put any show heifers in with a ringworm animal, if there was one; they likely would get ringworm, but be done with it by april or certainly may. do use caution cleaning up ringworm lesions as they can spread to humans - i've had it 3-4 times - the immunity seems to last 3-4 years and then it crops up again. treatment is usually topical and should be encouraged to keep the environmental exposure down - it will stay in wood pens much longer than those with concrete/steel construction.

good luck! with these and the shows!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

calving calls

the first entry on this page is being made right after cleaning up from a difficult calving - oversize calf, small heifer, head turned back around and not much room to work. sometimes the best calls on calving are when to stop pulling and get a different approach or call for help. i do the same thing on very difficult cases that merit referral to New Bolton Center. if no progress is being made after 30-40 minutes of labor, call for assistance so that the uterus and cervix don't start closing down.

and don't forget the lube! I used to use J-Lube for most cases because it worked so well - but it is well documented now that if some of that gets into the abdomen(as with a c-section or a uterine puncture)it will very likely cause a severe case of peritonitis that often is fatal.

stick with the usual AI lubes, keep a gallon on hand and in a pinch, use Crisco - it is actually a very good lube for calvings, especially breech births that are more difficult. this small extra effort helps get the calf out and may prevent or lessen the damage to the birth canal, keeping post-calving infections to a minimum.