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December 2019 Newsletter



Sally has been writing quite a few Veterinary Feed Directives (VFD) for clients to treat groups of animals. These have mostly been coughing calves, but also for goats, pigs and finishing steers. Now that the temperature has gotten cold and stayed cold, things have calmed down, but watch out for warmer temps and the return of the mud next week.

If you have not had a farm call within the last year, Sally or Andrea will need to come and look at your animals before we can write a VFD. We also need to have a signed Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) form on file to comply with BQA, FARM and VFD requirements. Please call if you have any questions.


The recent stay below freezing weather has been good for calves, but we are still seeing runny eyes, snooty noses and off-feed pneumonia problems. Bedding is in short supply this year. Try not to short your youngest calves on bedding. They are the ones most affected by the moisture and ammonia in a wet bedding pack. Older finishing cattle can handle less bedding.

If you are seeing signs of pneumonia in your weaned calves, don’t wait to treat them. A few calves coughing can turn into a whole group off-feed with a few dead in a hurry. Sally has posted calves this fall with nasty abscessed lungs that died before even being treated. You can inject individuals and still treat the group in the feed via a VFD if most of them are still eating.

Antibiotics and sulfas are also available to mix in the water for weaned calves. We have to be careful, though, no to throw sick calves off water due to the taste of the medication. Calves that are sick and running a fever need to drink more water, not less. Calves that are not drinking will not eat, either.

Please talk to Sally or Andrea for calf treatment recommendations. We have options. The best way to tell what kind of infection is causing the signs is to post a calf that has died. The new PCR tests run at the diagnostic lab can identify viruses and bacteria even in calves that have been treated.

Some calves will benefit from getting a dose of Inforce 3 in the nose when a virus is going through a group. Anytime you run calves through the chute, you are stressing them. Whether you are running them through to treat or to vaccinate, remember, it is another stressor. If you can get them treated in the feed, you can avoid that stress.


Starting January 1, 2020, we will have a lower price for single night boarding for dogs. You can bring your dog in during regular hours and pick the dog up during regular pickup hours the next day and pay only $45, instead of 2 full days of boarding. We do ask that you prepay for your boarding time. That makes things much smoother at pickup.


A few dairy clients have already gone through the inspection for the most recent Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) certification. This certification is valid for 3 years. If the inspector notices things that need to be changed/fixed, you have a certain amount of time to work on that area (90 days to 3 years) before your next inspection. FARM 3.0 (3 years ago) focused on eliminating tail docking of cows. The focus of FARM 4.0 is animal care and making sure that you have pain relief protocols in use. Please call if you have any questions about what you need to do for your FARM certification.


We hope you have had a chance to visit our online store. We are still adding items, but right now, you can order pet food, flea and tick preventatives, prescription refills and equine products. The prices are competitive, you can set up automatic shipments and shipping is free. We have been pleased with the response so far.

You can reach the online store through lancastervetclinic.vetsfirstchoice.com

Once you are in the website, you can search for products, check out the latest deals and special prices, and create your own account. Your information will not be used anywhere else. If you are ordering a product that needs a prescription, we can take care of that for you. If your animal needs something like bloodwork or testing before the prescription can be filled, we will contact you.

The website has a live chat and help line if you have a question about ordering or returning a product. You will be able to see and order lots of things that we don’t carry in the building. If you need vaccines or other supplies for cattle, please call the clinic and talk to Jill to set up a drop ship.


Sally recently attended a meeting with Dr. Paul Fricke and Dr. Milo Wiltbank from the UW-Madison. These scientists are still working on understanding how the cow’s reproductive system works and how we can improve FERTILITY with our breeding systems rather than just services.

Our high producing dairy cows are a challenge because of their high liver metabolism and low levels of reproductive hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. Our goal with all these shot programs like Ov-Synch, Double Ov-Synch and CIDR Synch, is to work with the cow and time her cycle so the AI will be at the right time. About 20% of cows do not show heat because of low estrogen, but we can still get them pregnant with the right timing.

More studies have been done supporting the strategy of drying cows off at a 2.75-3 BCS (NOT a 3.25-3.5 BCS like we used to do), calving them at 2.75-3 and keeping them from losing weight after calving. Whether cows are too thin OR too fat at calving, if they lose weight they will have very poor conception rates and higher incidence of mastitis, metritis and milk fever.

How can we achieve these medium body condition scores in our late lactation cows and maintain weight after calving?

  1.  Limit number of services and/or days at breeding. If a cow is not pregnant by 150 DIM, she most likely needs to be a DNB.
  2. Adjust energy in feed to late lactation cows. It is easier to get a cow to lose weight while she is still milking.
  3. Save your best feed and facilities for fresh cows to get them up and going and eating right away.


We wish you success in the coming year and thank you for your continued trust in our service to you and your animals. We work to continue to improve and meet your needs. 2019 has been a tough, crazy year for farmers. We appreciate your business and perseverance and look forward to a better year in 2020.

Sally, Cari, Andrea and Staff at Lancaster Vet Clinic

Committed to the health of your livestock and pets.