Sick cattle management (Proceedings)

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Sick cattle management (Proceedings)

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Aug 01, 2010

Dr. Tom Noffsinger is an independent consultant from Benkelman, Nebraska. His daily activities include consultation to beef feeding and cow-calf operations in the areas of health, performance, and animal behavior. Dr. Noffsinger earned his DVM from Colorado State University and completed the University of Nebraska's Great PlainsVeterinary Educational Center Beef Cattle Production Management Series. He received the AVC's Consultant of the Year Award in 2001 and the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association's Distinguished Service Award in 1999. Dr. Noffsinger is a member of the AVC, Nebraska VM, and AABP.

This morning we're going to talk about our least favorite topic – sick cattle. Sick cattle are not fun to deal with, but we're always going to have some of them. I want you to understand that our philosophy should be to invest time at strategic points of the production cycle to reduce time spent at hospitals.

For the students, if there is one piece of advice to give you that the AVC has taught me. Surround yourself with people much more intelligent than you are. You'll see people like Drs. Lynn Locatelli, Wade Taylor, Doug Ford, and Paul Ritter who spend time trying to bring some form of organization to some of my scatterbrained thoughts. These are examples of people who challenge me every day. Surround yourself with these kinds of people.

This topic is very complex. Sick cattle management has paradigms within feedlot medicine. The vast majority of pulls on our database would be grouped into a respiratory disease complex. All these animals that come out of the pen are outliers on both ends ofthe biological curve. Very few animals come out of our pens that are in the middle of the biological curve. We need to understand why some cattle become ill and others flourish. Colostral transfer issues, trace mineral deficiencies, immunosuppression are examples of issues that explain lack of disease resistance. We have other animals on the other end of the biological curve that come to the hospital because they've absolutely been selected to gain 6 lbs. per day and have less resistance to disease. We need to understand the animals that arrive in our hospital situations and be willing to address diagnostic issues. I have a list of management, head cowboys, head hospital people, assistant managers and so forth. These are the people who demand our profession to give them the information, the skills, the products, the tools to let them absolutely take care of every sick animal like they owned it. They take care of every animal in that feedyard like they went to the bank and borrowed money to buy it. They take care of every animal so that if the owner drives in and has a look that they will be absolutely impressed about what is happening.