BREEDING SOUNDNESS EXAM
At Countryside Large Animal Vet, breeding soundness examinations of bulls are performed in a hydraulic chute. The veterinarian does a physical examination of the bull with special attention to the body condition, eyes, legs, feet and sheath. The internal genitalia, prostate and accessory sex glands, are examined through palpation to determine correct size, and firmness. The scrotal measurements are checked to be sure they are above the industry/species standard for age and breed of bull. The scrotal measurements can be used to ascertain daily sperm production and quality of semen. Electroejaculation is used to obtain a semen sample to check sperm concentration, volume, number of sperm, motility and morphology via a microscope. Semen motility evaluations are ranked as excellent, good, fair or poor. Fertility tests are a snapshot in time and do not guarantee breeding soundness later. Breeding soundness exams can be done in the field if there is a chute, and electricity available.
*Countryside Vet can perform Breeding Soundness Exams on Rams and Bucks
Tritrichomonas foetus Testing
Trichomoniasis or “Trich”, as it is more commonly known as, is a venereal disease in cattle. The Tritrichomonas foetus protozoan parasite (a single cell organism) can and does cause a large economic loss for farmers and ranchers, which can lead to having an abundance of open/infertile cows, abortions, an extended calving season and even pyometras (uterine infections). Trich is a highly transmissable disease because the organism lives in the lining of the penis and the prepuce. A bull contracts the disease from an infected cow then spreads the disease to any cow he breeds. The infected females can have early abortions. Once the cow has cleared the infection after a few heat cycles she may re-breed, causing the late calving/extended calving season. The cow can also become re-infected, since the immunity doesn’t last. Bulls should be culled if they test positive for Trich. There is no known cure for the disease in bulls. Testing should be completed before buying a bull or prior to the beginning of your breeding season. Every bull that will have access to the heifers/cows should be tested. Testing cows is unreliable because they can clear the infection on their own in a few months. Trich tests are usually done on a bull at the same time as their annual semen evaluation, preventing the need for two trips through the chute. There are no outward visible signs of Trichomoniasis in a herd. The best prevention is annual testing, followed by pregnancy checking cows in a timely manner. Trich testing bulls is a fairly simple process. A sample is collected by a preputial scraping. The veterinarian uses a pipette to scrape cells from the prepuce inside the sheath. The sample will be placed in a transport media and sent to the reference lab for testing.
Podiatry is the part of veterinary medicine related to the diagnosis and treatment of livestock feet. The common ailments that we treat are foot rot, abscesses, lameness, long toes and founder. Treatments include paring down the hooves to the appropriate length, using poultice to draw deep abscesses from the afflicted foot or koppertox. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are used depending on the case. In some cases we attach a block to a healthy claw to relieve stress from an injured claw.
Bovine Herd Health
Countryside veterinarians provide customized herd health plans for individual livestock operations. Age, gender, and previous vaccine history will impact what type of vaccine the cattle receive.
- Calves - We recommend calves receive a vaccine regimen including vaccination against Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV), Parainfluenza (PI), Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV), Somnus, and Clostridial Perfringens. Many of these inoculations in combination vaccines. Heifers must receive their Brucellosis (Bangs) vaccine between 4-12 months of age.
- Pre-breeding - Cows and bulls should receive vaccination against IBR, BVDV, PI, BRSV, Clostridial Perfringens, Vibrio, and Leptospira.
- Pre-calving - Cows and heifers should receive vaccinations against IBR, BVDV, PI, Clostridial Perfringens, Leptospira, E-Coli, Rotavirus, and Corona virus. Vaccines for Pre-calving include protection for the calves’ through the colostrum post parturition.
Pregnancy Testing Cattle
Countryside veterinarians examine heifers and cows by either ultrasound or palpation to determine if a cow is pregnant or open and estimate her stage of gestation. Cows must be at least 30 days to accurately determine pregnancy by ultrasound or palpation. We now have a new portable Ibex ultrasound to improve accuracy for our clients and increase speed of preg checking cattle. Pregnancy testing cattle can be done in the clinic or field with a chute and electricity.
For most livestock emergencies, hauling to the hospital is preferred due to the proper restraints needed to keep our patient and staff safe. A few exceptions to hauling in: cattle that will not stand up to load on a trailer, and cows with a UTERINE prolapse.
Dystocia and Cesarean section
A dystocia is defined as a difficult birth, typically caused by a large or malpositioned fetus, smallness of the maternal pelvis, or failure of the uterus and cervix to expand normally. Here at Countryside Vet we assist cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, and alpacas during parturition. Dr. Mary Hoffmann says, “if you don’t see the head and two front feet, call Countryside!”. Countryside Vet always has a veterinarian on call for parturition questions and emergency procedures. If you suspect that labor is not progressing or find the fetus is malpresented (ex. Rear end first, back feet, one front foot back), call our office and trailer into the hospital. Our veterinarian will try to reposition the fetus to reattempt a natural birth or to pull the fetus out. If unable to manually manipulate the fetus, a c-section would follow. In a cesarean section, the veterinarian creates an opening through the body wall of the patient to enter the uterus. From here the veterinarian will remove the fetus(s) and then suture the opening closed. Hopefully, saving the life of the patient and the newborn(s).
Common injuries that we see in livestock at Countryside Vet are lacerations, eyes, and calves with broken legs due to being stepped on. All of which require immediate attention by a veterinarian in order to achieve an optimal outcome. Call Countryside Vet if your livestock is experiencing an injury.
Bloat is a form of indigestion in cattle. Immediately after a meal the digestion of feed stuff causes gas in the rumen. This generates eructation (burping) eliminating the gas, if they cannot eructate, or the rest of the GI outlet is blocked, they will bloat. There are two types of bloat in cattle; Free gas or “dry bloat” and Pasture or “frothy bloat”. Free gas bloat can be related to cattle eating too finely ground grain rations, vagal indigestion (pneumonia related), or a change in feed causing rapid fermentation and gas production. This is treated by tubing the bovine to release the gas build up. The most common cause of frothy bloat is a consuming too much alfalfa. This type of bloat is usually treated by tubing the bovine and administering Therabloat to reduce the froth built up in the rumen. You can determine if a bovine is experiencing bloat if their left side appears to be distended, labored breathing, kicking at their belly and stamping or sudden collapse. Bloat should be treated in a timely manner to prevent loss of the animal.
Call us to start creating your customized herd health plan today!