All cows must receive immediate veterinary attention when they are sick or injured. In most cases, unnecessary pain, injury and disease can be prevented through good husbandry, regular visits to a veterinarian and addressing any issues the veterinarian raises.
This law is called the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act outlines how people must take care of and act towards animals in New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Police and SPCA work together to make sure people in New Zealand follow these laws.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, all animal guardians (owners) are responsible for making sure the welfare needs of animals in their care are met. Learning about the Five Domains helps us to understand these welfare needs and how we can make sure we provide these. One of the Five Domains is Health. In this section you will learn about this domain and how you can make sure your cows have the right veterinary care to be healthy.
Just like you have a family doctor that you see when you are unwell, your cow will need their own doctor too - a veterinarian is an animal doctor. It’s a good idea for your family to find out which veterinarian they plan on using before you get your cow. Not all veterinary clinics specialise in cows, so it is important you find a veterinarian that is experienced at treating farm animals.
Vets that specialise in farm animals like cows will usually come to your house instead of you having to transport your cow into a veterinary clinic. Once you get a new cow, your family should have your chosen vet do a health check-up straight away. Your veterinarian can administer any preventative treatments or medication that may be required.
Your veterinarian should also be able to give you lots of tips and advice for properly caring for your cow, including feed, and helping them to settle in. Make sure you ask the veterinarian any questions you have about caring for your cow.
Cows have four toes which are covered in hard hooves. They need a regular inspection to make sure they are healthy and in good shape. Your cow’s hooves grow over time, much like your toenails, and can grow overly long. If this occurs, it can cause problems such as difficulty walking and can be painful. If your cow’s hooves require trimming, it also requires special tools. It is best to let a veterinarian or hoof care specialist trim your cow’s hooves.
Foot rot is another condition in which the hooves of your cow can get badly infected. This is caused by your cow standing on ground/muddy areas that are too wet. To prevent this, try to keep your cows living area dry and make sure your land is not too wet for your cow to be on. If your cow is on wet ground, do not leave it there for too long and be sure to rotate your grazing area.
Your cow will need regular preventative treatments - such as drenching - to make sure they do not become sick from either internal or external parasites, or disease. This is the easiest way to make sure your cows stay healthy.
Vaccinations protect animals against the things that can cause illness or disease. There are a number of diseases that require different vaccines for your cow, and your veterinarian will be able to give you recommendations. Cows also need to be drenched and given a pour on for parasites approximately every three months - this will help protect them against worms, lice and ticks. Your veterinarian will be able to provide treatments for this and can either show an adult how to give these treatments to your cow or preferably have someone experienced in handling cows to treat them for you. This needs to be done gently and in proper handling yards to protect you and your cow.
Bloat is a serious condition that affects the stomach of your cow. Bloat can happen when the lush, rich grass fermenting in your cow's stomach produces gas and it then becomes trapped in their stomach.
This can make your cow feel very ill and can lead to death. If your cow has bloat, you will notice their stomach will look very large, bulge and stick out on one side.
Your cow will probably be acting very depressed as well and might grind his/her teeth in pain or kick his/her legs.
Bloat can be caused by a number of things:
Bloat can get worse very quickly therefore, if you suspect bloat at any point, call your veterinarian straight away.
If you suspect your cow might be sick, the veterinarian should be called right away. Some signs of a cow who is feeling ill can include: