Farm Animal Health: Calving a Jersey Cow, Prophylactic Surgery for Dogs, and Navicular Disease in Horses

MOTHER's Country Vet shares tips on farm animal health, including this small farmer's guide with questions on calving a Jersey cow, prophylactic surgery for dogs, and preventing navicular disease in horses.

| October/November 1997


The approach of parturition (actual birthing) in the cow is characterized by udder enlargement and relaxation of the pelvic ligaments, giving the tail head a raised appearance.


Dr. Andrea Looney, DVM, offers her farm animal health experience in caring for cows, calves, horses and sheep. This issue features a small farmer's guide including questions on calving Jersey cows, prophylactic surgery for dogs, and how to prevent navicular disease in horses. 

The trend towards virtual extinction of farming is sadly accelerating. The farmer's share of economic activity involved in delivering food to consumers has fallen from 21 percent in 1910 to less than 5 percent in 1996. Over time, activities once performed on farms have been taken over by the farm supply and food processing industries. Some would argue that much of the farming activity in this country is being absorbed by non-farmers, those who believe in small, independent efficiency in the shadow of major producers, consumers, and mechanical management. What's wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing! In fact, it may be the gentleperson farmer that may very well return the whole of the farming industry one day to its roots.

Most companion animals provide us with an important link to these agricultural roots. I invite you, who value this special link and the continuing companionship these animals provide to our lives, to keep those questions coming. Hopefully, the spirit of the small farmer will persist!

What are some of the essentials to watch for when a calving will take place? We adopted a Jersey cow, and she is expected to calve soon (within 2 months). The kids are anxious to watch, and we're just plain anxious. She's a pet, and we warm to make this a good experience for everybody. Help!  

—Sarah Wilson
Hamilton, OH

Whole watching a newborn calf find its feet and hobble up to mom (or the bottle) us a breathtaking experience, following a few basic steps can help ensure a good start.

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