Tag Archives: Veterinarians

What Role Does a Veterinarian Play Taking Care Of Cattle?

Sometime in the later part of the 90’s, not too long after I moved to Nebraska and went to work at the feed yard, I asked my consulting veterinarian to come out to the farm and help me diagnose a calf.  I knew that something was wrong with it, but I was struggling to pin point the specific illness.

When the vet arrived, he looked at the calf and said, “Anne, this calf is ADR”.

I replied, “Doc, what does ADR mean?”

He responded, “Well Anne, ADR means ‘ain’t doin right’.”

Over the years, I came to appreciate Doc’s humor almost as much as his tutelage regarding animal health. He helped me to guide the above-mentioned calf back to good health and his mentoring went a long way to developing my skills as a savvy animal caregiver. Together, we developed:

  • Biosecurity plans to keep our farm as clean as possible
  • Preventative Health Programs (including vaccination schedules) to keep our animals as healthy as possible
  • Individual animal treatment protocols for a variety of illnesses that sometimes challenge our animals on the farm

His routine visits to the farm as well as our conversations by phone in between those visits kept me moving effectively down the road of good animal care. Much to my children’s chagrin, I started bringing home his interesting verbal lingo. I’ll never forget the look on the family practitioner’s face the first time I told him that one of my girls was ADR. His level of surprise mirrored the level of embarrassment on my daughter’s face as she informed both of us that she was not a calf!

Anyone who has children recognizes that their good health will be interrupted with bouts of sickness. The key to being a good caregiver is recognizing the point that the pendulum shifts from healthy to ill. We take our kids to the doctor when they get sick and are their devoted advocate and caregiver until they are well. It’s really not very different from the relationship that I have with my veterinarian caring for my cattle.

We create an effective team that drives both good health and an accountable trail for good animal care. Many animals will never get sick in their tenure on my farm, but I am prepared to work with my veterinarian to help them get better when illness strikes.

Together we are stronger!

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Filed under Antibiotics, hormones, and other growth promotants..., General

Striving To Always Get Better…

I pride myself on being a good cattle caregiver.  I recognize that effective care is marked by a myriad of things which ensure quality bovine health.

I believe that no matter how good I am, I can always get better.

Watching talented cattle handlers is a great way to learn...

Watching talented cattle handlers is a great way to learn…

A couple of weeks ago, my crew and I attended a cattle care and handling training conducted by Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz and Dr. Shane Terrell in Elba, Nebraska.  We went on a road trip to meet with crews from other BMG feed yards and to learn from Dr. Kip and Dr. Shane.

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Leading from the front of the herd allows for the development of confidence in the animals…

The training was a combination of both classroom time and active cattle handling.  It covered the core concepts of Beef Quality Assurance, as well as basic components of cattle psychology to help us learn to better understand the animals that we care for.

My moment of epiphany during the training came when Dr. Kip said these simple words:

We can never completely remove the stress from our animals’ lives.  Rather what we can do is to teach them how to deal with it, so that they are better able to maintain optimal health as they move through each stage of their lives.

I do not know which Anne this statement spoke the most to:  Anne the cattle caregiver or Anne the parent.  But, I do know that this is powerful advice that will continue to shape my philosophy and increase my effectiveness as a leader and caregiver.

Empowering them to play an active role in solving challenges...

Because I love them, I need to empower them to play an active role in solving challenges…

I think that each one of us, from time to time, is guilty of trying to wrap those that we care for in bubble wrap—attempting to protect them from each and every challenge that comes their way.

Perhaps we would all be better served if we also focused our energy on teaching them how to personally play a role in dealing with challenges…

While my cattle are incredibly different than my children, I am also a leader and a caregiver to them.  This necessitates a personal understanding of a bovine’s unique needs and understandings so that I can help it to learn to deal with stress and stay healthy.

They are vastly different from my children, but I still need to empower them to handle challenges...

My relationship with them is vastly different than what I have with my children, but I still need to empower them to handle challenges…

Like any human, I am challenged by the effective understanding of my cattle as my animals think and perceive the world in a vastly different way.  I must constantly attempt to view the world through their eyes in order to ensure proper care.

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I work to empower myself to always search for improvement…

I enjoy the challenge of working with animals.  They invoke a level of empathy that inspires me to greatness.  I am grateful for those professionals that help me to solve the puzzle of bovine animal understanding.  And, I look toward the future with excitement as I am constantly able to improve my leadership and caregiver skills.

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Filed under Animal Welfare, General

Cattle Health: Setting my animals up for success…

Calf #718--a healthy animal that made healthy beef...

Calf #718 never got sick…He was healthy his entire life…

This is not due to luck.  This is mainly due to high quality care and diligence on the part of Al and Sallie and I.  We put the pieces of the puzzle together correctly and set him up for success.

He was cared for holistically throughout his life span…

He was raised in a low stress environment…

He was raised by people who are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified and trained…

Al and I both participate in the Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance program.  This is an educational program developed to teach cattlemen how to holistically care for their animals.  The program is administered by veterinarians and extension educators, and provides a very important link between cattle farmers and ranchers and their veterinarians.  BQA is a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) program. In essence this means that you figure out all of the things that can challenge you in your day to day care for cattle, and have a plan in place to effectively, safely, and efficiently deal with the challenges.

There are five core categories under the National Beef Quality Assurance program:

Care and Husbandry Practices

Feedstuffs

Feed Additives and Medications

Processing / Treatment and Record Keeping

Injectible Animal Health Products

These five areas of study and training provide cattle farmers and ranchers with the necessary training to holistically care for their cattle–from basic animal care, to nutrition/feed stuffs, to cattle handling, to vaccination administration, to antibiotic usage, to record keeping…

My goal is to only feed and finish cattle that are cared for by Beef Quality Assurance educated cattlemen—I believe that it is important to “complete the quality assurance circle” so that each calf in the United States is cared for by a BQA trained cattlemen from birth to harvest.  By doing this, we set the calf up for success and ensure high quality and healthy beef for consumers to enjoy.

BQA ties the consulting veterinarian with the cattle farmer...

As I work with my consulting veterinarians, using the core concepts and additional Best Management Practices of Beef Quality Assurance, I ensure that my animals are healthy and their beef is safe.

The veterinarians are great resources for me and help me to keep my cattle healthy...

Calf #718 is a success story—one of thousands at my cattle feed yard.  He is the product of good care:  properly timed and administered vaccinations and de-worming, good nutrition, and a low stress environment in which to live.

Every time that I look at a calf, I remember that the care that I give to him will allow him to thrive and grow.

A healthy steer makes healthy beef...

Every time that I look at a calf, I remember that his beef will be fed to my family and families all over the world.

My family of "beef eaters"!

Every time that I look at a calf, I feel proud that I am a beef producer.

Flat Iron steaks are my girls' favorite cut of beef. The Flat Iron is part of the Chuck muscle and makes a very tender steak. Thanks to the Nebraska Beef Council for the great picture!

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