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December Newsletter




            You will need to go through the new 3.0 Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program to be able to sell your milk this year if you didn’t do it last year.  The FARM 3.0 program is the new standard that includes the prohibition on tail docking that went into effect Jan 2017. 

            FARM 3.0 also requires a veterinarian’s signature certifying that you have a valid Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) with that vet.  Sally has already signed quite a few of these forms, but some of you were not due for a renewal until this year.

            If Sally has not been on your farm for over a year, she will not be able to sign a VCPR form for you.  The VCPR is very specific that a relationship includes visits to the farm and examinations of the animals involved.  A VCPR cannot be maintained only by phone or discussions at the clinic.  We appreciate all your business, but please keep in mind that prescribing antibiotics for your animals whether for injections or in the feed must include visits to examine the animals involved.




            We are happy to be having Craig Humphreys working while Sally is gone before Christmas and while Cari is gone after Christmas.  He may also be working some for us in Jan and Feb.  We appreciate Craig’s help and hope you do, too.




            What factors do you consider when you are making decisions for your farm?  Do you look for cost?  Return on investment?  Improved efficiency?  Profitability?  While these factors may all be important, we challenge you to also consider these three:

  • Consistency
  • Comfort
  • Calm

These three factors take into consideration how your decisions will affect your animals—your very important asset!  Whether you are working with calves or adult cattle, beef or dairy, pigs or sheep or goats, if you work toward improving your animal’s environment and care, they will reward you with better health and production.




            Do you have certain cows that seem to get mastitis over and over?  Or a cow that just never seems to get better?  Producers have been fighting environmental mastitis thanks to all the mud and slop lately.  Environmental mastitis is generally easier to cure than a contagious infection, such as staph aureus.  However, some cows do not get better.  When should you cull a cow?

            Chronically infected cows are defined as those that are infected for 2 consecutive months or 2 out of 3 months.  “Infected” means a SCC over 200,000 or a linear score of 4 or more.  If you are not on test, you can consider a cow chronic if she has shown clinical mastitis twice in the same lactation.  These cows cost you on quality and are also less likely to become pregnant.

            We can run milk cultures at the clinic to help you determine what bacteria is causing chronic infections.  Some cows have teat end injuries or cracks that make the teats hard to clean.  These cows may not culture any bacteria, but have a high SCC because of inflammation.  Early dry off with a teat sealant may help the teat heal.

            Set up some criteria to help make consistent culling decisions for these cows, such as:

            1.  Cull if >4 years old and projected DIM >400 whether pregnant or not.

            2.  Cull if >3 years, open and bovine leukemia (BLV) positive.

            3.  Cull a chronic cow has been cultured with a staph aureus infection.

            4.  Cull if cow is still high SCC or clinical after she calves.

            5.  Cull cows with cracks or cauliflower teat ends that don’t heal after treatment.




            We have been seeing a few cases of bloat in calves that are still on milk, sometimes as young as 1-2 weeks old.  This bloat is different from rumen bloat in older calves and adults.  The abomasal bloat is caused by overgrowth of Clostridium or Serratia bacteria in the abomasum which results in gas accumulation and toxins that quickly kill the calf.  This bloat cannot be treated by passing a stomach tube or inserting a trochar because the gas is further back in the abomasum instead of the rumen.

            Preventing abomasal bloat involves the following:

  • Feed milk or replacer with total solids of 13-15%
  • Mix completely so that the milk fed last is the same as fed first
  • Feed as close to 12 hours apart as possible and at consistent times
  • Feed milk at 104 degrees  each feeding
  • Keep clean water in front of calves at all times

Please call if you have questions about testing the total solids in your milk or milk replacer.




The best way to deal with calf pneumonia is to prevent it with good colostrum, good ventilation, dry bedding and no overcrowding.  We have been very happy with the protection provided by the Inforce 3 intranasal vaccine, even in groups where a few calves are already sick.  It really helps knock down the viral infections and stimulate the calf’s immune system.

 We recommend a dose at birth and a booster at 6 weeks of age.  Then the calves are protected until you vaccinate with the Bovishield combination at weaning or 4-6 months old along with the blackleg vaccine.  We also recommend a dose at weaning if you are mixing calves or bringing in calves from the sale barn.  The Inforce 3 starts working in their nose right away.

If you have calves that are sick, you need to give injections of antibiotics or run medications in the water.  You can’t depend on sick calves to eat enough feed to get treated with crumbles or granules.  Posting a dead calf will give us the best information on which antibiotic to choose.  Giving Banamine with the antibiotic will help calves feel better and breathe more easily.

We have had calves test positive for mycoplasma and Histophilus somnus and Pasteurella this year.  Some of the mycoplasma cases end up going chronic with joint infections and droopy ears.  Some of the calves look more like a pinkeye with runny eyes from the infection in their heads. You need to repeat injections of antibiotics to these calves so that they have good blood levels for 2-3 weeks to eliminate the infection.




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.


Everyone at Lancaster Vet Clinic

Committed to the health of your livestock and pets.