How to Choose a Veterinarian for Your Cattle

  1. Fairfarmhand
    Many people complain about the difficulty of finding a good doctor for their families. However, one thing that\'s even harder than that is finding a good bovine veterinarian. Large animal vets are becoming increasingly harder to find since most of the money to be made in the veterinary field is in treating cats and dogs in big cities. While cattle farmers are a pretty good hand at giving shots and doing simple veterinary treatments, sometimes nothing will do but to call a vet.

    Tips for Finding a Good Vet

    Talk to other cattlemen in the area for recommendations for a good vet. If you are still coming up blank, you may want to call your county extension agent. Another place to ask around is the local feed store or livestock supply store. If there are not many vets in your area, you may end up driving a fairly long distance for treatment of your animals. Sometimes, that\'s just the way that it is.


    Call before You Have a Problem

    Many of a cattleman\'s emergencies will come unexpectedly. Additionally, animals like cows don\'t have to go in for checkups at the vet like dogs and cats typically do. This is why it is important to build a relationship with a veterinarian before you have an emergency. When a vet knows the farmer and the farm, he can make better recommendations for your situation. Additionally, by talking to you ahead of time, the vet will get a feel for the kinds of medical treatments that you will be able to do yourself and the things that you already have experience doing.

    What Makes a Good Vet?

    You may have certain ideals that you are looking for in a veterinarian. However, you may need to be a little flexible in your principles if there are not many large animal vets in your area. For instance, if you are a \"grass fed\" beef farmer, you may hope to find a vet who follows \"grass fed\" principles. However, this may be easier said than done. The important thing to keep in mind, though, is not that the vet believes 100 percent in your ideals. The important thing is that the vet is respectful of your standards and attempts to work inside them. There may be times when you do have to flex a bit within your principles to ensure the health of your animals. Sometimes sick animals may need a bit of grain or antibiotics to be restored to full health. However, it is not unreasonable for you to expect the veterinarian to explain his reasoning and help you understand why he recommends that particular course of treatment.

    Of course, you should always check that your vet is licensed to practice in your state, and that he or she has completed his entire veterinary degree program.

    Questions to Ask

    When you have finally made contact with a good vet you may want to ask him some of the following questions:

    • What are the typical office hours?
    • What kind of cattle handling equipment and diagnostic equipment are available in the office?
    • When are you available for emergencies?
    • If an emergency happens when the vet is out of town or otherwise unavailable, who covers the calls?
    • What kinds of payments can I use?
    • What are typical charges for common veterinary treatments?
    • If a vet has to make a farm visit, what is the mileage surcharge?
    • How can I contact the vet in case of an emergency?

    Cattle farmers can do all kinds of veterinary treatments on their own, but sometimes there\'s just no substitute for the training and skill that a licensed vet will bring to your farm. Use these tips to find the best vet for your farm.

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