Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How Big are Your Problems?
We all have difficulties rearing calves. Especially troubling are times when we lose a calf or have a number of sick ones.
To put these issues in perspective let me share a question that appeared in my e-mail last Saturday. The manager works in China. She is responsible for calf operations on 15 dairies spread out over an area roughly the size of 2/3's of the USA. Her two questions were (1) is it possible to pasteurize colostrum without destroying all the antibodies and (2) whether not pasteurization of colostrum would kill Brucella abortus.
The first question I receive many times in a year. It is easy to answer.
The second question I have never been asked before. We are so fortunate to benefit from the efforts of those who have gone before us that took on the job of eradicating Brucella abortus from the dairy industry in the United States. Only eighty years ago father-in-law's Guernsey herd was destroyed by brucellosis. Now we seldom give this disease a thought. We only have a few herds in our practice that still vaccinate against brucellosis as a risk management practice.
In contrast, all of her herds have abortion storms every year. Some of them are confirmed brucellosis cases. And, this in spite of extraordinary measures the dairies take to prevent disease-causing organisms from entering their premises (limited and controlled entry points, chain link perimeter fences, wheel baths for vehicles, 100 percent shower-in:shower-out access for people, extended quarantine restrictions on cattle movement).
Preventing brucellosis is an everyday challenge for her calf rearing staff. In contrast, many of us are concerned because we have a nagging problem with cryptosporidiosis in our 7 to 10 day-old calves.
All a matter of perspective. By the way, the answer to the second question is is almost certainly yes as long as the 60C x 60 minute protocol is followed.
Have a good day. 

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