If you have animals, you need a working relationship with a vet. Period. It is important you establish this relationship before you NEED them in a crisis or emergency. Yes, they will probably help your animal in any time of need, but the more they know about you, your farm, your management style, your philosophy, etc. the better job they can do for your animal. This extends to your household or farm pets as well as your livestock.
|Dr. Peter Brown at Gothberg Farms|
We are lucky here to have Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic, a good sized vet clinic that maintains a large animal component. They still make farm calls. In some parts of the country, you are not so lucky. In that case, you probably need to keep a trailer or at least a truck with a camper shell (if you have an animal small enough to fit in one) for transport in a time of need. Along this line, you also need a plan for euthanasia should the unfortunate and awful happen on your farm, with no other resource to call upon.
On our farm, we have an annual “Well Goat Check” every January. Our vet comes out, sees the whole herd, looks at the list we have prepared for questions, evaluates & recommends on feeds, sanitation, medications, assesses for pregnancies, and draws our blood from each animal for CAE testing. (More on CAE in a post coming soon-we have been negative for 6 years now.) Yes, of course, we could easily draw our own blood and send it off to WSU for testing. But this is a really good way to see, touch, think about, and evaluate each goat with the vet. It helps him formulate his best treatments based on our philosophy. He knows we fall more into “pet” than strictly livestock as a business. Again, this is good information. By now, from years of working with us, even the vet knows some of them by name. He still laughs at some of our chosen names though. We know every vet in the clinic. Most are on a first name basis. They treat us as colleagues, never condescending, always respectful. We share and discuss research and trends. The nurse in me loves this part.
Competent, qualified care is not free. Nor should it be. But at the end of the year, if I take my total vet expenditures and divide it by the total number of animals I have, the cost is reasonable. We simply would not go without it.
And with all of this comes the peace of mind that when we need them, they will come. Period. If you don’t have this relationship and have an emergency on your farm at 3am on a snowy Christmas eve, would they come for you? Here, I have every confidence they would be here for us. I don’t need them often, but when I do, they come. My animals, my crew, and myself all send a big Thank You to our vets and their staff.