Finding the right cow doctor

Get everything lined out before the emergency!

It’s optimum to have established a relationship with a large animal veterinarian even before the emergency occurs, says David Baber.

“Often, we are dealing with remedies that may involve the use of medication (or other livestock health supplies); once a veterinarian knows a farm, he or she can help make an accurate diagnosis for a sick animal, recommend the proper medicine, and keep a farmer from buying the wrong product or giving the wrong dose.”

Dr. James Francis, a large veterinarian based in central & norwest Alabama says that in many places, especially in city areas with little livestock, the nearest veterinarian specializing in livestock may be very far away. In addition, those veterinarians may themselves cover a large part of a state or region. “That’s why establishing a relationship ahead of time is so important,” he says. “If your veterinarian is a five-hour drive away when an animal gets sick, he or she may still be able to advise you over the cell phone.”

“If you are considering getting a few cows, find out where the vets live and ,” Cole adds. “Don’t even wait for an serious situation; establishing a relationship will also go far if you later have to ask a veterinarian to come out to your place to look at a sick animal in the middle of the night.”

How to choose a large animal vet!

If you are new to an area, or just learning how to deal with live stock, looking to your area is the best place to start a search. The local extension office and the store where you buy livestock feed and other livestock goods should have recommendations for veterinarians that specialize in livestock and can make on-farm visits.

Try calling your county’s Cooperative Extension office center. Many offices will have an Extension Agent that specializes in large animals, and a lot of offices should even have a list of veterinarians in the near vicinity.