Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are you listening?
Coccidiostats don't solve scours problems in week-old calves!
I had a conversation this morning with a producer suffering from wide-spread diarrhea among calves between 7 to 10 days of age. I believe the purpose of the phone call was to confirm the conclusion already reached by the client.
The question posed to me was, "Which coccidiostat should I be using for this problem of scours with my calves. Nearly all of them have scours along about 7 to 10 days of age."
I tried to divert his attention to basic questions about calving pen cleanliness, how soon calves are moved to their pens, basics of colostrum handling and feeding, and calf pen cleanliness. Diverting his attention from coccidiosis was like trying to shut off Niagara Falls with a cork.
He had already decided that coccidiosis was the problem (remember calves generally show clinical signs of coccidiosis around 21 days of age) and my questions were nothing more than an annoyance. "Just answer my question!"
Why do I mention this experience? I believe we all suffer from starting to analyze problems with one or more pre-conceived solutions in mind.  I include myself in this population. Keeping an open mind to other than "the usual suspects" is a challenge.
This is why using "critical control points" associated with calf management has the potential for helping us not overlook possible solutions to problems. I heard Dr. Shelia McGuirk give a talk on Managing Calf Diseases over a decade ago. Just for an exercise I took that talk and reformatted into a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) format. Her work provides a fresh look at "critical control points." See Managing Calf Diseases: HACCP approach. Enjoy.

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