You say “Dairy”, we say, “What do you need?” We do it all! From individual animal care to whole herd health prevention to creating protocols, training employees for implementation and monitoring the compliance of the program, we tailor our services to your operation to ensure mutual success.
The overall health of a dairy herd plays a vital role in how productive the animals are and therefore how successful the operation can become. The key to a healthy herd is to implement the best preventative measures possible, thereby limiting the time, labor, and investment that goes into trying to correct problems and treating sick cows. One aspect of preventative medicine is to make sure the dairy or calf ranch has a solid vaccination program in place. Every dairy is unique and requires collaboration between management and the herd veterinarian to implement a program that best addresses the specific needs of the operation. Management plays a key role in preventing disease as well, and whether it be developing protocols for dealing with calves or helping design transition facilities for freshening cows, Mill Creek veterinarians can help a dairyman do their best to keep animals healthy and productive and limit disease and problems as much as possible.
A solid reproductive program is critical to the continual success of any dairy. There are many different approaches to achieving reproductive success on a dairy, and Mill Creek veterinarians devote a large portion of their time to helping clients succeed in this area. We work with and have experience with the full spectrum of producers, from 100% bull bred to 100% artificial insemination dairies. There are numerous approaches to achieving the best artificial insemination results, and Mill Creek veterinarians can help to advise a dairyman on which synchronization protocol may yield the best possible results. We can then help monitor the reproductive program and offer feedback on steps that may be needed to help improve reproduction.
We offer any type of pregnancy diagnosis a producer may want, from rectal palpation to ultrasound to milk or blood testing. There are benefits and limitations of each method, and a dairyman should consult with his veterinarian to find which method or methods work best on that particular dairy.
The use of ultrasound technology can offer multiple benefits to improve efficiency of a dairy operation. From a reproductive standpoint, ultrasound can be used to find pregnancies earlier than with rectal palpation, thereby allowing open cows to be rebred sooner. It also allows a more thorough examination and more accurate diagnosis of ovarian structures, and can better pick up problems such as dead fetuses and uterine pathologies. In addition, ultrasound can be used on calves to access lung scores and gain an idea of how much lung damage a calf has from previous pneumonia problems.
Fetal sex can be determined through ultrasound examination of the fetus at roughly 60-90 days of age for the presence of either male or female genital tubercles. This information could potentially be valuable in making tough culling decisions depending on current bull versus heifer calf prices.
Herd Record Analysis
Sometimes observations on a dairy can be skewed depending on individual good or bad days and not give a true representation of what is going on over the long haul. That is why it is important to periodically examine the true numbers in the herd records to access how well a dairy is doing in all aspects of production. By examining a dairy’s Dairy Comp program, performance evaluations can be made on milk production (milk flow and components), reproduction, transition cow management, maternity management and essentially any other aspect of the dairy where strict records are kept. The better the job of record keeping and data entry a dairy maintains, the more information the vet will have to give constructive feedback on how things are going.
Milk Parlor Evaluations
If you are experiencing a mastitis flare up, increased somatic cell counts, or just not satisfied with your current milk quality, it may be time to have a full milk quality evaluation done on your farm. The evaluation will include basic parlor equipment evaluation, but more importantly will include evaluation of every step in the milking process. This starts from the moment the cow leaves her pen until she returns to her pen, looking at everything that affects her in-between. Often times, simple changes in procedures or how you use your barn can make a great deal of difference in your overall milk quality.
Individual Animal Medicine and Surgery
We provide a variety of services for the individual animal all beginning with a physical exam. May it be the trophy fair animal or an animal “not doing right”, we will be there to diagnose the next step to treatment.
Just like people, cows don’t choose when they are going to have problems. The majority of emergencies are birthings, but other emergencies range from uterine prolapses to cut udders. Our after-hours time is 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 4 p.m. Friday afternoon through Monday morning at 8 a.m. A doctor is always available, just call 559-651-1525 to be connected to a veterinarian for your dairy emergency. Dairy and goat emergencies only please.
The future of your farm isn’t in the quantity of milk you produce, but the number of viable calves you are able to raise. Starting before the calf is born, we analyze the transition period of your cow herd to ensure the strongest calf and healthiest cow have a smooth delivery. Overseeing colostrum quality, analyzing calves for failure of passive transfer and disease prevention are the tip of the iceberg of the services we provide for the newborn calf.
In older calves, disease prevention is key to a successful program. Frequently, Mill Creek veterinarians will utilize nasopharyngeal swab cultures for monitoring of respiratory infections to validate a vaccine program. Lung ultrasound has been a creative tool for us to document pneumonia incidence in a herd. Biosecurity and scour prevention programs help dairymen sleep at night when Salmonella is running rampant in someone else’s calves. Every six months we create an autogenous pinkeye vaccine to ensure our clients are getting the best pinkeye prevention possible. All of these small steps, plus more, keeps calves healthy.
Food Armor™ Certification
Consumers will continue their quest for more information on how and where their food is produced. Food Armor™ certification allows those in food production to remain diligent to food safety and consumer confidence. The Food Armor™ program was developed by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medicine Association as a means to strengthen the drug oversight aspect of the VCPR. In this program, Mill Creek veterinarians are able to certify farms when they can demonstrate full implementation and maintenance of a 6–section HACCP plan for proper drug use.
Certified Assessors for the National Farm Program
Consumers want to purchase food from sources they know will take care of animals. In addition consumers want farms to operate in a way that is consistent with their values and expectations. Dairy farmers have a longstanding commitment to doing what is right. The National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management™ provides consistency and uniformity to best practices in animal care and quality assurance in the dairy industry. Mill Creek veterinarians are trained to perform the assessment, analyze their findings and report these findings into the FARM database.
Interstate and International Health Inspections
Whether it is a shipment between farms or movement to a different country, Mill Creek veterinarians are the experts in guidelines for cattle movement. We have performed pre-quarantine tests on thousands of animals for international export, health inspection and certificate for interstate shipments of tens of thousands of animals, and are the leaders in the state for interstate tuberculosis testing. We know all the guidelines for shipment to make the process as smooth as possible for live animals and embryos.
Empower the Employee Training Series
Employee empowerment is a term used to describe an employee mindset of responsibility, accountability, capability, and autonomy. In terms of business, empowerment is the opposite of micromanagement. For this reason, it may be very beneficial for managers to empower employees, thus fostering employee reliability and an environment of teamwork. Our Empower the Employee educational series starts with calf care and ends (or re-begins) at transition cow management. Each session brings together employees that may not have necessarily realized they had the same goals and are part of a team. Classes are offered in English and/or Spanish and can be taught on-farm or in the Mill Creek conference room.
Master Hoof Care Program
Mill Creek veterinarians are proud to annually offer the Master Hoof Care Program by Dr. Jan Shearer. Dr. Shearer is world-renowned for his impact on lameness and foot health in dairy operations. The Master Hoof Care Program is a training program designed to teach on-farm employees how to properly trim and treat foot problems. In addition to his work on lameness, Dr. Shearer also actively works on issues related to animal welfare and humane euthanasia. It is always a joy and honor for us to be able to offer this extraordinary opportunity for our dairy farmers and employees.
May it be a random spot check on sanitation scoring of your calf prep area or a scheduled quarterly assessment, a sanitation audit can help prevent disease or identify a problem area in your facility. We use an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) meter, a device which uses a luminometer to measure light from an enzyme, luciferase, providing a direct measure of living organisms such as bacteria on a surface. The device provides quick and easy measurements to identify “hot spots” of bacterial contamination. Identifying and measuring contamination is just a starting point. From there, the veterinarian brings real value to the service by using the information to solve the problem by working with the dairy team to develop protocols and a system for monitoring progress.
Each herd is unique and what works for your neighbor may not be what works for you. We will discuss with you the previous disease incidents, goals of prevention, costs of prevention and explain the drawback/benefits of different vaccines to get you the optimal coverage for your herd.
Breeding Soundness Exams
You don’t need to ask them, bulls are not going to brag about being sub-fertile. A thorough breeding soundness exam assesses overall physical condition, analyzes scrotal circumference, sperm quality and sperm quantity to ensure a bull is fertile. In addition, testing for Trichomoniasis at the same time is easy and a safe way to protect your herd from disease and loss. One bad bull for every 20 cows adds up to be a very expensive oversight.
Certified Trichomoniasis Collection and Laboratory
The number 1 risk problem for Trichomoniasis in beef herds is that it isn’t you….but your neighbor. In addition to bull exposure from neighboring pastures/herds, cows commingling with neighboring pastures/herds, new bull additions without testing; and ok, so maybe you could be part of the problem in retaining open, exposed cows into the next breeding season. Frequently with Trichomoniasis, you don’t realize you have a problem until it is too late and you have no calves on the ground. Don’t be that person, protect yourself and make sure you have done your part to prevent this disaster from happening to you.
Risky Business (Rodeo)
We are always up for an adventure. If there is a possible emergency room visit possible, we are game. Mill Creek veterinarians love properly restrained rodeo bulls. If you need Trichomoniasis testing, Brucellosis or Tuberculosis testing, vaccinations, breeding soundness exams, or interstate or international shipping documents, we are your vet. You may even get us to lance an abscess on the bulls’ forehead or get us to check their ears for ticks if you catch us on the right day!