Life’s Challenges Bring Tough Decisions…

In my eleven and a half years of parenthood I have had two trips to the emergency room.  One was nine years ago when my oldest had a combination of the respiratory flu and croup.  One was last week….Fortunately the first was a happy ending and it appears that the second is going to follow suit.

Last week my middle daughter, Megan, got her pinkie finger slammed in a door and partially (‘mostly’ is probably a more accurate description) severed the tip from the finger.  There is never any lack of drama at my house (as anyone with daughters can empathize with), and there was plenty as she came screaming toward me with blood streaming from her hand.

Fortunately, one of my best attributes is that I work well under pressure.  I am not an “alarmist” by nature so I put pressure on the finger to stop the blood and started working on calming my daughter down.  When I took a look at the finger I knew that we were destined for the emergency room…

Looking out over the valley that our great town of Cozad is located in...

One of the best things about living in a small town is the medical and emergency room care.  There is something incredibly calming about walking into an emergency room and being surrounded by people who know you and care about you.  Cozad Community Hospital’s slogan is “We treat you like family…You’re one of our own”, and that is a spot on description.

An x-ray and five stitches later, we left the emergency room and headed for the local pharmacy.  In addition to a long list of “wound care” instructions, Megan’s doctor prescribed an oral antibiotic to keep the wound from becoming infected.  Normally, I am not a big proponent of using antibiotics without any sign of infection.  But, after looking at the mangled mess of my daughter’s finger, I agreed that given the stress on her body and likelihood of infection resulting from the accident, that she should take the antibiotics.

It's the animal caregiver's responsibility to ensure good health...

My last post talked about the fact that Calf #718 never got sick, and the role that Beef Quality Assurance and good holistic care played in the prevention of disease.  Good health is a complicated “jig saw puzzle” to put together, and sometimes it involves the use of antibiotics to prevent disease in times of stress.

Al has a lifetime of experience caring for cattle on his ranch...

Weaning is one of the most stressful times in a calf’s life;  even when it is done at the home ranch in a situation that sets the calf up for success. Weaning stress can reduce immune system function and make a calf more susceptible to respiratory illness.  Al and Sallie know this and, together with their vet, they made the decision to administer Chlortetracycline (CTC) as a feed additive to Calf #718 and his herd mates for a few days during the weaning period.  Al is BQA educated and trained, and he administered the CTC according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) label instructions.  This CTC was administered in order to prevent a weaning stress induced respiratory infection.  Is this always necessary?  No.  But, it is an important tool for Al and Sallie and their veterinarian to have if they sense that their calves are threatened by infection.  In the case of last fall, their professional opinion was that it was the right thing to do to keep their calves healthy and prevent infection.  After caring for Calf #718 and his herd mates for several months at the feed yard, I agree with the decision.  They arrived healthy with strong lungs, and stayed that way.

Just like it was Megan’s doctor’s job to help her heal and prevent infection, it was Al and Sallie and their veterinarian’s job to keep Calf #718 healthy during weaning.  All of us know that healthy animals make healthy beef—and it is our responsibility as care-givers to ensure the good health of our animals.

Megan, her little sister Karyn, and Magnum taking a break in the shade...

The good news is that the tip of Megan’s finger is reattaching, and, except for the fact that she will not have a finger nail for a while, she will make a full recovery.  She rode her horse this afternoon, and seems to be adjusting and healing just fine.  It seems that we set her up for success and figured the pieces to that jig saw puzzle correctly as well!

4 Comments

Filed under Antibiotics, hormones, and other growth promotants..., Beef Life Cycle--Calf #718, General

4 responses to “Life’s Challenges Bring Tough Decisions…

  1. Steve Duke

    Glad to hear everything will be ok……I think most everyone has had a scary moment with their kids and that is an excellent quality you have to remain calm. Thanks for sharing and relating the facts to the cattle herd use of antibiotics and not just dumped into them like some claims are made.

  2. Glad to hear Megan and her finger are on the mend. I have to agree with you; it is very comforting to enter the ER and see the familiar face of a nurse who is also a neighbor or friend.

  3. GREAT REVIEW! I agree with all you said in your article, especially at the end of your article. Thank you, this info is very useful as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your super blog:) Isabella S.

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