cant' get a vet, need a good book on medical care of a homestead dairy cow.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Hi everyone. Do any of you know of a good book on the routine medical care for a Dairy cow? One that covers parasites and diseases, vacinations, birthing, calf care etc. My problem is that I can not find a vet who wants to work with cows. The area I live in has become rather suburban in the last 20 years and the only large animal vets are for horses. They are expensive and inexperianced with cows. and tell me honestly they have no desire to work with cows. I guess very few people around here have cows. I have called all the vets in the phone book and some from outlining areas but they don't want to travel. Our horse vet came out last spring to remove the horns from our four month old dexter heifer. She was very distress by the procedure and after the wounds healed the horns continued to grow. I'd still like them off, as one is malformed now. I don't think our vet will take care of it for us. He charged us $70 for removing the horns on top of everythig else and when we told him the cow still has horns he recomended that we buy a caustic paste to apply. We didn't do this as the mother licks the calf all over and would have removed the paste as soon as we applied it and the horns were already growing out. Didn't seem like a good idea. I'm relucatant to call him back out and he made it clear he is doesnt like working with cows. No other vet will come either they all recomend the vet we used. Other vets don't want anything to do with cows. We get Vally Vet Supply catalog and it has lots of vacines and other medications for cows as well as some wicked looking loppers for removing horns. Ouch! We have resigned ourselves to vetting our own cows, but would really like a good reference that is not too technical and will provide enough information so we know when we need to treat and when we don't. I have to two standard dairy cow books "The Family Cow" and the book by Joann Ghorman, which were a great help but they defer to vets for medical care. If you have any advice for me please write in. I really learn allot from reading this forum.
-- Sarah S. (email@example.com), April 06, 2002
Sarah, go to http://www.enasco.com/prod/ProductDetail? sku=C09796N&title= and order up a copy of the Merck Veterinary Manual. This is a truly basic reference for just about any critter you'll encounter. Yes, it is technical, but there is a good glossary and everything is well illustrated. If you have to do your own vet work, start with this.
-- Paul D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 06, 2002.
By the way, dehorning cattle is not a pleasant task, for either calf or owner. To do it right, you've got to remove the horn button which is right up against the skull. You have to either dig it out (those 2-handled loppers, or more rarely, a special saw), burn it out (using a device that looks like a soldering iron on steroids), or kill the bone-growth cells within (the caustic paste). If you're set on using the paste, you'll probably be best off building a veal pen that has the calf's head on the outside and prevents the calf from moving about. You'll need to bottle feed for a few days, and probably pen up the mother nearby but not close enough to lick off the paste. You can put the pair back together after about 3 days. The sooner the job's done, the easier it will be for all concerned. Good luck.
-- Paul D. (email@example.com), April 06, 2002.
If you happen to be short on cash and longer on time, there are a couple of ways to produce your own information source. One is to look up different items and download them, I suggest using University extension articles as the basis here and supplement it with information from forums and individual web pages. The second is to use information available from various Veterinary Schools, such as Cornell Veterinary, http://www.vet.cornell.edu/consultant/Consult.asp# It is 1) a veterinary diagnostic support system that covers 7,000 diseases of 8 species when searched by sign and 2) an online textbook, when searched by diagnosis. For more information please see the guide at http://www.lib.utk.edu/agvet/veterinary/guidecon.html
This Cornell is the latest that I have found but there are others and they seem to cover just about everything that a homesteader would need for everything short of major procedures.
-- BC (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 06, 2002.
I, too, suggest a Merck vet manual, but you might want to check on Ebay first to see if you could find one there. Could save you more than a few bucks.
If you have Dexter cows - - - - -they are very HARDY animals. I have a large Dexter herd, and my cows are never sick. ( As I've stated in another thread - - I DO NOT medicate). Another trait is the ease with which they calf, and I have only, ever, had one occasion when a problem developed.
It is hard to end up with a clean dehorning - - unless you get the buds very early. I personally think of all the methods, the best is the heated iron, but it is still just awful for the animal. Dexters are very intelligent, and long to forget or forgive. I don't dehorn mine.
-- Judy (JMcFerrin@aol.com), April 06, 2002.
When dehorning, in addition to the bud check the edge of the skin around the open wound after you have popped the horn off. Feeling with your thumb, you will often find a harder edge of skin that may not look like horn, but can easily be felt. This ridge of harder tissue must be removed also to avoid the growth of a scur (a deformed bit of horn). It is not unusual to have to take a couple of extra nips with the poppers to cut this tissue off. Of course pumping blood vessels should be pulled with a hemostat or wire nose pliers (the former work better for this task) to control hemorrhage. Thought this might help.
-- Sandra Nelson (Magin@starband.net), April 07, 2002.
Thank you all for your answers. I think the books will be a great help with routine things. After reading all this I am pretty sure we will need a vet to take the horns off. I am not up to the "pumping blood vessels" and extra clipping that will be needed. Sounds like it needs a skilled hand. I'm hoping to find a vet in the upper part of the state who will do the foul deed for us if we bring the cow. :)
-- Sarah S. (email@example.com), April 09, 2002.
When we bought our 16 month old Jersey, we stopped by the vet first. He cut off both horns and did a pregnanacy check for $3 each for a total of $9. It is so much cheaper at the vet's office.If you had a way to transport you cow to a vet that regularly works with cows it might actually save money depending on how far the trip is.
-- debbie marler (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 2002.