Cow fluid therapy a game-changer
When we started our vision farming project, we wanted to adapt and engage in new ways of doing things on our own farms.
One of our short-term objectives was to reduce down antibiotic usage and improve treatment outcomes.
Our overall aim is, of course, to have fewer sick cows. This can be achieved through proactive management, but part of this is supporting cows at high-risk times with things like oral fluids.
We have reduced antibiotic use on-farm by putting a focus on better protocols for sick cows. It’s probably more than that; we wanted to look at supportive treatment and set out a gold standard. We have been using routine oral fluid therapy in cows for the last number of months.
It really is a game-changer in managing sick cows on the farm. It’s actually more than just for sick cows.
Cows after calving that need that vital TLC, administering oral fluids with products like fresh calver can make such a difference.
If we think about treatments, we often think of antibiotics first. We must remember sick cows can have several things happening. Just like ourselves, when we are sick or feeling down, we don’t all reach for antibiotics.
Oral fluid therapy should be the bog-standard for every cow under the weather on-farm or recovering from infectious or metabolic diseases.
It can have a dramatic impact on treatment outcomes and recovery.
On our farms, some of the protocols we use are
· All cows with clinical mastitis get oral fluid therapy and an anti-inflammatory until milk cultures are run. Very few of these cases have needed any subsequent antibiotics
· Any cows over 4th lactation plus cows get a fresh calver product in 20 litres of warmed water after calving
· Any cows with uterine infections, washouts, pneumonia and are on antibiotic treatments get supportive fluid therapy. This is a simple 100g of bluelyte solution in 20 litres of water.
· We’ve had a downer cow we nursed back with oral fluids and supportive therapy.
· Cows that are thin or challenged metabolically we add in ketogold into the mixture. This provides energy, amino acids, and key minerals.
Cows that need urgent veterinary attention or have more complicated issues must get that attention.
So the team will do a full assessment themselves, and if they are not happy, these cows will get a veterinary exam.
We now use oral fluid therapy as part of the routine on-farm, with any cow off receiving oral fluids and stomach powders.
With so many potential benefits, we are bringing our cow fluid pack to the market this spring.
It contains the whiplash stomach tube, the most robust tube on the market. It also contains several oral solutions to get started with fluid therapy.
What’s most important is before farmers start using the stomach tube, we want them to complete our full video training series on oral fluid therapy. This training comes as part of the cow fluid pack.
We talk through step by step in videos, the why, the how, and the what with, from our own farm protocols.
We don’t think twice about oral fluids in calves and for years have seen the benefits. We need to adopt the same attitude in oral fluid therapy in cows.
“I’ve sold these to clients in practice and seen them being used routinely on dairy farms around the world. Oral fluid therapy is a game-changer”- Tommy Heffernan.