Friday, October 8, 2010

God Bless our Veterinarians!

Well, it's been a busy week already! We returned from our great vacation to WI and World Dairy Expo, to well cared for cows.  I can't say enough about the guys that we had hired to watch, feed & milk our cows.  They did an awesome job, above & beyond the call of duty, and we thank them for that!  It's always nice to come home and know that the cows were cared for. 

One of the other key players while we were gone was an excellent veterinarian from our local clinic.  We had 5 cows calve right before we were about to leave to Expo.  We wanted to make sure that while we were gone these cows got the same excellent care that we provide for them on a daily basis.  Our feeders and milkers already had their hands full, so we decided to bite the bullet and hire the local vet to make a visit on Thursday and Friday mornings.  Dr. Sue was on call and willing to do the job.  Dr. Sue came out on Wednesday so that we could give her the health history of each of the 5 cows she would be caring for.  Yes, that's right, we keep very detailed medical records on each of our cows to help us make the best decisions for their care.  Dr. Sue would be responsible to check each of the 5 cows for a variety of different symptoms that can happen just after calving.  Using her 5 senses and a few simple tools (thermometer, urine ketone detection strips, & a stethoscope) Dr. Sue would be able to determine the health of each cow.  Every morning, we do this very same thing for each of our fresh cows.  While we were gone Dr. Sue found no infections, just one cow with an upset stomach.  She treated the cow with probiotics, yeasts, and alfalfa meal.  By the next day the cow was as good as new.  When we came home those 5 cows were in great health!

Then, on Tuesday night, we were in a pinch and needed a trusted veterinarian again.  At 10:15pm, we were wrapping up chores and Jon notice a lot of blood puddled in the alley by the cows.  He knew exactly what he was looking for....a cow with a punctured hole in her udder.  A cow's udder circulates about 400-500 gallons of blood to make 1 gallon of milk, so if cow milks 9 gallons a day, that's 3600-4500 gallons a day pumped through the udder! A punctured cow can bleed out very quickly.  Jon found a fresh cow named Sprinkles, drinking water, oblivious to the fact that she was bleeding out onto the ground.  Sprinkles had a hole, less than an inch wide in her udder, pulsing blood onto the ground.  Jon acted fast, putting his hand on the hole to apply pressure and stop the bleeding.  Then Jon called for me.  We moved Sprinkles to the "vet area" where she could be treated and I called Veterinarian 9-1-1....each night and weekend our local vet clinic has a vet on-call to handle emergencies like this.  Jon and I had no idea what to do, but thankfully after a 30-minute wait, Dr. Greg arrived to help us out.  We very swiftly worked to stitch the hole shut.  It was careful work, as Dr. Greg did the sutures and Jon applied pressure to the wound, preventing further bleeding.  After about 40 minutes of patient work, we were able to permanently stop the bleeding without Jon holding Sprinkles udder.  She didn't even know it happened....and when we let her back to the pen, she went straight to the feed bunk to eat (as though she wasn't about to bleed to death an hour previous)!!!!  If it wasn't for excellent veterinarians like Dr. Greg & Dr. Sue it would be very difficult to care for our cows.  Vets do amazing work and help us out in our times of need, times when the situation is bigger than we can handle.  Dairy farmers have an excellent sense about their cows & they know how to care for them, but sometimes we need someone with a more experienced resume.  So, GOD BLESS OUR VETS!!!!!!!


  1. Thanks for the "cow doctor" love. :) I feel like a part of the family for my dairy clients too.

  2. Kathy: You are welcome! Our vet's are a critical player in our farm's success!


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