On a daily basis, I read posts from Facebook friends caring for their sick children, spouses and pets. The recent winter weather hasn’t helped anyone’s health – including our calves.
The temperature fluctuations, snow, wind and cold nights have weakened our herds’ immune system. Many animals have remained happy and healthy through all of the recent weather but some have fallen victim to sickness – mainly pneumonia. Because we care for our animals, and know that a healthy animal is a productive animal, we do everything we can to maintain individual and overall herd health.
When an animal shows physical signs of sickness, we will use antibiotics to help their bodies overcome the infection. Despite the recent negative press on antibiotic use in animals, responsible cattle owners use antibiotics without compromising the quality of our nation’s beef supply.
Recently, the Coalition for Animal Health briefed Congress on the use of antibiotics. The briefing focused on helping legislators understand how and why farmers and ranchers use antibiotics. The unwillingness, Coalition representatives said, to treat or help sick animals causes undo suffering and lasting impacts from the infection or sickness. That is something we never want to see on our farm.
When we use antibiotics, we maintain diligent records on what animal receive what dosage of each medication. Those animals are removed from the herd until the antibiotics are out of its system. Healthy animals are happy animals and produce quality beef. We strive to raise happy, healthy animals and using antibiotics to aid our animals in overcoming sickness is one way we can do that.
We thank God for the snow – and resulting moisture – but we now face an uphill battle of keeping our animals healthy. Like any animal owners, we only want the best for our cattle and we will do everything we help them battle the elements.