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Writing treatment protocols, on-farm training, and records-making it a seamless system (Proceedings)

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Aug 01, 2010

The request for a written treatment protocol is made frequently and easily by people that don't have to accomplish the task. This request is made with the best intentions and it is necessary that we accomplish this, but it is not quite as simple as it sounds. Simply defining mastitis as abnormal milk and leaving instructions to infuse the quarter with an intramammary tube does not meet our obligation to the cows, the consumers who have a stake in what products they purchase, ourselves, the regulatory agencies administering drug usage laws, and the dairies workers; either the responsible manager or the first touch worker, nor the ownership of the dairy.

Treatment protocols are prepared based on being able to define an expected condition and then leaving instructions about what to do when what was defined is found. The laws regulating drug usage include a requirement for a valid veterinarian client patient relationship (VCPR).

The valid VCPR exists when:
      1. "The veterinarian has assumed responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions.
      2. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s), or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
      3. The veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen."

When we keep the cow's welfare as the priority, the process becomes much simpler. As you work your way through your own protocol writing it is interesting to note that when our decisions favor the cows welfare they always seem to be in the best interest of the workers, the consumers, and business interests of the farm also.

As practitioners, the law that had the greatest impact on the protocol writing was the Animal Medical Drug Usage Clarification Act (AMDUCA), meeting the letter of the law isn't always easy but meeting the intent of the law is. This law is the lynch pin for the papers that follow and the organization of a plan that needs to be very comprehensive yet remain simple and easy to accomplish.


Management group (Fresh cows)
To get started we need to know how the client defines conditions treated currently and the drug protocols currently being used for each management group.

Starting where the dairy is offers several very important pieces of information:
     •      We find conditions that need no redefining or adjustments in drug plan
     •      We find conditions where a superior treatment plan can be written
     •      We find conditions where something about the current drug plan is not medically appropriate
     •      Find if conditions severities that could be served by different treatments

The complexity of the written protocol does need to be considered first if we are going to keep the entire process transparent, simple, and easy. We need to give thought to the simple definitions used to describe what we expect to have caretakers find and clear instructions about what to do when they find what was defined.