Jane Austen wrote, “Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.” While I reckon it is pretty unlikely that Jane Austen was talking about vet visits to her dairy cows when she wrote Emma in 1816, the same sentiment can be shared by farmers and vets alike on a daily basis.
We want to do the best job possible for you and your animals, but we need your help – keeping us up to date with what is happening on-farm the day of the visit, including any extra animal that may need to be seen, helps us stay on time and deliver the best service to all our farming members.
Scroll to the bottom for a pre-vet visit checklist of useful tips.
The key to successful vet visits is Communication, Communication, Communication!
Talk to each other on farm so whoever is meeting the vet on the day knows why the vet is there and which animals they should be seeing! In my experience as a vet, the bigger the farm, the more likely this is to be an issue; I’ve been brought to completely the wrong mob of animals by a staff member who had no idea why they were sent to meet me at the shed…..spoiler alert, I was supposed to be vaccinating calves in a barn down the farm, not hanging out with the R2s in a random paddock!
For example, if the call is for a sick cow, being able to tell the vet the history of when the cow got sick and how if she has responded to any treatments already given will provide valuable information for guiding the vet towards the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Be ready with information such as: what signs the cow is showing of being unwell, when did she start showing those signs, has she been eating & drinking, has she gone off her milk, when did she calve (if she has calved), what treatment has she been given, and how has she responded to that treatment.
Talk to the vet clinic before the vets gets to the farm if anything has changed from the original booking. We will always manage to get all the work done, but we do a far better job of being efficient and thorough if we have allocated enough time for the job and the vet has sufficient supplies with them to treat all the animals presented (think vaccine doses, non-cycler treatments, metricures etc.).
For example, if we are booked to pregnancy test 6 cows, we will probably schedule about 20-30 minutes on farm (depending on the facilities), to get the job done, finalise the paperwork, clean up and head off to the next job where more animals will likely be waiting on the yard as they have been told when we are likely to turn up. Imagine how things suddenly become stressful if instead of 6 cows waiting on the yard when the vet turns up, there are 12 cows to pregnancy test, 2 lame cows and a sick yearling – suddenly the vet is faced with two hours work and the next farmer is left waiting with their animals stood on the yard!
This situation can be easily avoided, with a quick phone call to the clinic to let us know that the details of the job have changed. It allows us the time to re-organise the vet’s diary, either delaying the calls later in the day, or perhaps rearranging the order of calls depending on the circumstances. We will always get the jobs done – it’s simply a matter of communicating with us so we have the information to do all the work in the most efficient and stress-free way possible.
Practically every farming business is under pressure these days with staff shortages. Vet practices are facing similar challenges with the current world-wide veterinary shortage. At Anexa we are in a really good position with an amazing team of vets, technicians and clinic staff who work hard every day for our awesome farmers and club members. Let’s keep life as predictable as possible when it comes to booking in your vet visits and save the surprises for the birthday parties and wedding proposals!
Run through this checklist when you book in a vet visit:
Pre-vet visit checklist
Before the call:
Have I communicated with the vet clinic:
- all the jobs I want done while the vet is on farm (including accurate numbers of animals)?
- where the animals are to be seen by the vet e.g., at the shed? Yards? Run off?
- phone number of the person meeting the vet?
Have I communicated with my team member so:
- they know which animals are being seen by the vet and why?
- they know the history of any sick or lame animals to be seen by the vet?
- they know when and where the vet is due to arrive?
When the vet is due to arrive:
Are the animals and staff ready when the vet arrives?
- IMPORTANT: make sure animals are always kept with at least one other (i.e., are never kept alone) while waiting for the vet. Cows are herd animals and can get very stressed, even to the point of being dangerous, if they are kept away from their herd mates.
Will we have clean buckets of water ready for the vet when they arrive?