No, no the horse does say "Moo", it says "Neigh". The cow says moo and the cow is what this is all about.
Over the course of Friday and Saturday I got to ride along with a bovine veterinarian from the Fowlerville Veterinary Clinic. Her name is Doctor Bonnie Dansby and she is awesome. So I don't know how many of you know of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol', found on NatGeo on TV, but he's a large animal veterinarian located in Michigan. He's in his eighties and has been practicing for over sixty years I believe. It's one thing to watch someone on TV castrating bulls and de-horning calves, it's another thing to see it in person.
Dr. Dansby is a bovine vet. She does not do horses or anything small, just cows and the occasional deer, elk, buffalo, sheep and goats. But cows are her specialty. Friday was a long and busy day. Our first stop was at a larger dairy farm where we did pregnancy checks on several large heifers.
When I walked into the barn I was greeted by the smell of manure and the sight of tons of heifers milling about. Some were being milked, some were eating and some were just standing around. Doing pregnancy checks on a cow is not quite as glamorous or clean as doing one on a mare. A large bar keeps the cows from kicking you as they stand in a chute waiting to be let out. A glove goes on and in her arm goes. She feels the uterus for a fetus and let's the farmer know whether or not she's pregnant and if not, whether or not she's in heat yet or coming up on a heat cycle. When one cow is done you move on to another..and another...and another...until it's all done.
After each pregnancy check the farm hand would vaccinate the cow, this continued up to the last heifer.
After finishing up there we made our way to another dairy farm where we did more pregnancy checks. The farm hands were nowhere to be found so I was in charge of writing down whether a cow was pregnant, how far along or if she was not and when she would come into heat. After that we went to a farm where a pregnant heifer would not get up. She ate here and there but refused to stand. We dewormed her and induced labor. Dr. Dansby is not sure what was wrong with her, maybe she is pregnant with twins and they're sucking all her energy or maybe she has worms. There's a good chance the calf(ves) will not survive and she may not too.
A pre-mature calf was seen next. He was beyond adorable and suckled weakly on my fingers while the doctor looked him over. We gave him artificial colostrum through a tube and predicted he would be up and nursing in 12 to 24 hours.
The next case was a heifer with a LDA(left displaced abomasum). The abomasum is part of the cow's "four" stomachs and can sometimes come out of place, leaving room for gas to form. We put her in a shoot, sedated her and numbed her, and right there, in a barn Dr. Dansby performed surgery. She sewed everything back into place, stitched her up and had her looing like new. While we were there we observed a young bull who's castration had gone badly. Typically, a rubber band is put on the testicles to cut off circulation and cause them to fall off. His rubber band stayed on long enough to kill the sack but then broke, leaving two large, red and swolled testicles exposed for infection. To make matters slightly more complicated a heifer had died that morning from possibly eating something toxic.
The last case of the day was the castration of two adorable jersey calves and also de-horning them.
Saturday dawned bright and early. We went to a pig farm and vaccinated six piglets(very loud), before going back to the dairy farm to clean up and castrate the bull mentioned above. After he was castrated we went back to the clinic where she examined a young steer with a large lump on his leg. How the lump got there and what it is will remain a mystery, and in a few months he'll probably be butchered for meet. Because the calf would not walk on his hurt leg he other leg was beginning to twis inward to compensate for the other one, eventually he will not be able to walk or even stand up. Once he reaches 400 pounds he'll butchered and put in the freezer.
I was and am very grateful to Dr. Dansby for allowing me to shadow her and watch what she does. I hope to do more shadowing with a different vet when I'm in Texas in a couple weeks. I'll post video below. Enjoy, but be warned images are bloody.
Enjpy and have a happy ride!~