Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Little Late for St. Patty's Day

Yesterday was a big day at the farm: vet visit day. The primary reason for the visit was to have Bridgit checked to be sure she didn't have a retained corpus luteum (remains of an egg from ovulation) or any ovarian cysts that would interfere with her ability to breed back. Since the vet was coming, though, we decided to take advantage of the situation and get everyone vaccinated, both calves tatooed, and T-Bone's recent limp diagnosed.

Despite my nervousness, or maybe because of it, the day went smoothly. I had formulated a game plan that included haltering and tying Sheila, Bridgit and the newly-halter-broken Annabel an hour prior to the vet's scheduled arrival, and also included calling for backup, just in case I needed it. My friend N. arrived from her farm 20 minutes away, and along with her son, provided moral support and some much needed muscle. Paul had built a V-chute out of two borrowed stock panels, some rope, some wire, some chain and a custom-notched round of wood (as a spacer), and it worked perfectly, providing ample containment to keep us, the vet and the cattle safe as each was worked on.

Bridgit has a clean bill of health, so the bull, Umberto of Hem-Loch, can visit as scheduled starting Sunday afternoon. The calves received their blackleg vaccinations, everyone received a first dose of Triangle-9 (multi-purpose) vaccine (I have the rest of the bottle and will give a booster in 3 to 4 weeks), and Annabel received her important Bangs (bruccellosis) vaccination and requisite tatoo in her right ear.

The vet showed me how to tatoo and tatooed Annabel and T-Bone in the left ear with their unique registration number. Obviously this was the most painful operation of the day as both jumped mightily, and then ran to their mamas when given the chance. Both have green dye on their ear hair...the perfect accessory for St. Patrick's Day, but alas, it's June.

I am also very pleased to report that while Sheila, Bridgit and Annabel all shook their heads at me in defiance of being haltered (which is kind of dangerous with the cows and their horns), all three led like ladies. I'm especially proud of Annabel since that was only her fourth time being led and she gets it!!

T-Bone's leg and hoof has no obvious sign of swelling, sprain, strain or fracture. The vet actually suspected his right front leg was the problem, not the left, so he checked them both. Given all the mounting activity I witnessed last Tuesday when Bridgit was in heat, he probably has a little nerve damage as the main nerve for the front leg runs across the shoulder and on down. If that's the case, it's a functional problem, not anything that causes him pain, and could heal completely in 3 weeks. We've seen some improvement...and wouldn't you know the minute we let him out of the stall, T-Bone took off at a fast run-walk, picking his front hoof up to walk instead of dragging the tops of his toes. Call it a miracle, adrenaline, the desire not to have to be looked at like that again, or actual improvement due to vet massage (!), he continues to walk better on it than he had in 8 days! (The vet also told T-Bone in the course of his examination, "My, you are quite well endowed." This is a good thing when said to a potential breeding bull calf!)

All this for the low sum of $137! I love this vet and am so happy we were able to have him come out finally...and will definitely use him in the future!


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