Melissa J. Nixon, DVM
The treatment crew under direction of the veterinarians will milk dairy cows in lactation.
Most of the cattle in the evacuation unit are individuals being raised by 4H and FFA kids.
Most beef cattle herds remain on their ranch. We encourage ranch owners to plan ahead so that cattle have access to high ground in floods and green space in fires, with adequate supplies of food and water to carry them through the first few days.
We may be responsible for getting feed and water to cattle left on ranches.
Large dairies should have mutual aid agreements to evacuate their cows to other dairies where milking facilities exist. Evacuation of dairy herds is usually done before the order is given for human evacuation.
Alfalfa hay can cause bloat in beef cattle not adjusted to it and may cause urinary blockages in steers. While lactating cows may require the added nutrition and calcium of alfalfa, it will be treated as a prescription item and fed only upon the direction of a veterinarian. Likewise with grain.
Beef cattle should be fed grass hay. No grain.
Livestock crayon is the preferred identification for cattle; spray paint is an alternative. Federal regulations may lead to the widespread micro chipping of cattle in the near future.
Signs of illness in cattle include coughing, nasal discharge, diarrhea, distended abdomen, straining, depression, lack of appetite, failure to get up, and excessive bellowing.
Many of the Foreign Animal Diseases that concern veterinarians and security officials may show up in cattle. Report any potential signs of illness promptly to the veterinary team.
Four H and FFA animals can usually be led with a cow halter. Other animals are more likely to be herded than led. Trained cattle dogs may be of use in specific circumstances when we are trying to load cattle into trailers or get them into paddocks.
Cattle may suffer frostbite to udders, ears, and legs. There may be no pain initially. When temperatures drop well below zero it is important for cattle to have shelter from wind, deep bedding, and adequate food and water.
After a hurricane, the storm surge may flood areas with salt water. Cattle may die or become crazed from drinking the floodwaters when potable water is not available to them.