Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cows and Poop

I have started clinics! I am in the Food Animal Rotation now. I have two weeks in Ambulatory, two weeks in Clinics and two weeks as "back-up."

Currently I am three days into my Ambulatory trips. I am LOVING it!!! Ambulatory is when the Veterinarian actually goes out to the farm and does work. So far we have gone to the MSU Dairy to palpate cows. We were checking to see if they were pregnant or not. We also "bleed" cows, which, in this case we drew blood from the tail vein.

We drew blood for Johne's testing. This disease causes watery diarrhea in cows. It does not appear until later in life, even though the cow could have been infected at an early age. One of the reasons its a huge problem is because it decreases milk production over the life span of the cow. We test for Johne's because it adds value to cows sold from a "Johne's" negative herd, as well as insures the buyer he will not have problems with this disease later on in life.

Example of drawing blood:

After we bled the cows we palpated them for pregnancy. Usually with Dairy breeds, cows are artificially inseminated according to a program known as Ovsync. Basically it gets all the cow's cycle's on the "same page" so that they all come into estrus at the same time, all breed at the same time, and all calve at the same time. It was a lot of fun palpating the cows for pregnancy because depending on factors such as....
  • uterine horn size
  • uterine muscle tone
  • placentome size
  • the uterine artery size
  • and "membrane slip"
one can actually tell how far along they are in their pregnancy. Monday, I didn't really feel anything while inside the cow. There was a lot of poop and it was really warm....that was about it. Today while, palpating I actually felt all the structures, and by the end of the day, my professor was allowing me to tell him which horn the cow was pregnant in (which side). Of course, he was checking before me, and doing his exam....he just didn't tell me right or wrong until I had an estimate. I had poop in my boots, hair, on my face, and all over my coveralls but I had a blast!!!

Example of palpating:

In the truck on the way to the Farm and back our professor is quizzing us. He calls it "rounds" time. We get asked questions on what we are doing that day, the physiology behind it, things about dairy production medicine, drugs, injections, "days pregnant," and any other management questions he can think of. He expects us to know it all, but does a great job of walking us through the steps of reasoning it out in our head. I am loving ambulatory so far, and know that when its time to switch I might not want to. I know for SURE I will not be ready to move on to the next rotation. The DVM's here in Food Animal and the staff are so laid back and helpful.

I did not take any of these pictures. We are not allowed to take pictures. I simply found some on the Internet that were similar to what we were doing to give you, and idea about my tasks.

1 comment:

SM Edens said...

VERY interesting -- thanks for sharing (especially all the details and illustrations).

Glad you are enjoying clinics so much.

Love you :)