By Dr. Bernard Koch
The following article is an accumulation of tips written by Bernard Koch, CVM. At the time, Dr. Koch and his son Bob owned Koch Laboratories.
Almost every rancher has had the heartbreaking experience of checking his animals and finding one dead that gave no observable disease symptoms.
Here are some guidelines to follow on a daily basis.
Upon entering the unit, the rancher should note the activity of the animals. A sudden decrease in activity should cause the rancher to determine a possible reason.
A sudden drop in feed and water consumption is very significant. It could be feed quality, moldy feed, poor ventilation and strong ammonia odors in the unit.
One of the most important symptoms is a sudden change in the consistency, shape and size of droppings. Any deviation in the character of droppings should be looked into and analyzed as to cause immediately.
Condition of the eyes is second in importance as an indicator of presence of development of disease. Suffice it to say eye disease conditions are serious and when observed should be referred for definite diagnosis as to the underlying cause.
Fur conditions are usually visible and the only problem is to ascertain the cause at the earliest possible moment.
Observation of the character of the urine can also indicate some diseases.
Teeth may also indicate certain conditions. Females in the last stages of pregnancy or after littering and while nursing may have white teeth. This condition may be transitory or an indication of a rundown animal due to the drain on its system.
Continual observation of animals for any symptoms of approaching disease or present disease, especially when performing chores about the ranch, is a big help in the direction of disease control. It is a fact that when a herd is observed daily under normal conditions any abnormality should stand out as a warning flag. If any of the foregoing symptoms comes to the attention of the rancher he should be alerted to the possibility of an approaching or present problem. These symptoms further are tremendous importance when reporting to a veterinarian or laboratory for diagnosis or control.
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