Veterinarian involvement is critical to running a successful calf operation. Dairy Calf and Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III outline a recommended relationship that includes monthly physical visits, ongoing counsel and protocol development to ensure the safety and well-being for all dairy animals.
And it’s something Eugene Myatt of Glasgow, Ky., takes seriously withhisown operation. Myatt, a DCHA past president, custom raises heifers and has about 3,500 head in inventory. He says the relationship with his veterinarian is invaluable.
In addition to diagnosing and treating the occasional sick calf, his vet, with whom Myatt has worked with for 31 years, regularly performs the following tasks:
- Pre-breeding checks
- Pregnancy checking
- Develops and continually adapts the vaccination protocol as needs and drugs change
- Develops treatment protocols for sick animals that all employees are trained to perform
- Provides health papers for cattle being shipped across state lines
Myatt says in order to develop a strong relationship with your own veterinarian, it’s first important to choose the right practitioner for your individual operation.
“It’s extremely important to identify a clinic that has experience working with dairy cattle and specifically young dairy heifers,” he says.
He adds that finding a clinic that can not only offer regular checkups but also emergency calls is important because every farmer will have the occasional emergency.
An established relationship with a veterinarian is a must when middle-of-the-night or holiday emergencies arise.
“Veterinarians, just like us, have to make a living,” Myatt says. “We need to understand that and do things where both of us can survive.”