Farm Animal Health: Calves Dying, Horse Eye Wounds and Pig Leg Swelling

MOTHER's Country Vet shares tips on farm animal health, including cow abortions and calves dying early, eye wounds in horses and pigs with swelling legs.

| October/November 1996

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    The healing power of simple daily care.
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    Andrea's most recent patient, showing sudden interest in how the examination is going.
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    Pigs in a pen.

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Andrea Looney, DVM, offers her farm animal health experience in caring for cows, calves, horses and sheep. 

Farm Animal Health Topics

Greetings and happy fall to everyone. As Mother Earth prepares for the holiday season (It doesn't seem possible!), I continue to invite questions from our gentleperson farmers out there, and that includes our cat and dog lovers too!

I recently attended a workshop on alternative medicine and was somewhat astonished when physicians spoke about the urgent need to heal the environment as well as ourselves. I attended because I felt that the same methods of newer (alternative) healing and therapies that work for us humans may be effective for animals as well. Oddly enough, many of the therapies discussed return the focus of health care to proactive care using time-proven skills and knowledge and wellness instead of treatment of disease. The resurgence of this natural preventive medical system is based on the fact that animal, human, and environmental healing are all intertwined.

With this in mind, it is even more important today that the animals we often take for granted in our daily lives be returned to their meaningful places in society and be cared for on a different level a level akin to the care provided to animals by many of today's small farmers who depend on their cats, cows, goats, and even barn mice not only as a source of labor and food but as a source of companionship and vitality. Through this column, I hope to strengthen this special bond many of us share with our companion animals, allowing more of us to take part in the current medical renaissance of healing. Please join me and keep those questions coming!

We own a herd of Jersey cattle and have been experiencing a number of abortions in our first-calf heifers of late. l am suspicious of infections in the herd, since we took in a few new cows last year from a sale and the farm from which they came had BVD or some diarrhea problems. How do we begin to get rid of this?
—S. Curran
South Bennington, VT

Most abortions are due primarily to noninfectious insults, including nutritional imbalances, genetic problems, birth environment, maternal behaviors, and management shortfalls. Infectious causes of abortions are very difficult to identify because gross lesions (those apparent to the naked eye) are not unmistakable or exact for specific bacteria, protozoa, or fungi, and it's often very hard to culture or isolate the organism.

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