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Diagnostics - learning to be my own veterinarian  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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I need to learn more about veterinary medicine so that I tend the animals on my farm better.  I'm not sure how to go about it, but I'm tired of playing catch up.  I want to be proactive.

Recently, I discovered that my Vet has stopped treating livestock.  There is far more money in cats and dogs.  That means the nearest vet is about an hour and a boat ride - over $1500 for a house call - away.  This vet is great for alpacas and castration, but I'm not confident in their abilities to handle an emergency. 

So basically there is no vet available to me.

I have sheep, chickens, goats, geese, alpacas, ducks, and a llama. 


A few things I'm looking for. 

1) a good book or class on veterinary medicine. 

The books I have found useful so far are Story's Barn Guide to Sheep, Merck Veterinary Manual, and Natural Sheep Care by Pat Coleby.


2) a source of medicine.

Edit to add: if possible, I want to avoid chemical medicines.  I think prevention is my best cure.  My second best is a proper diagnosis as this can avoid unnecessary treatment.  I'm still at a stage where I will treat with chemical meds to save a life or prevent suffering, but I want to get to a place where they aren't needed at all.  But I need more knowledge to get there. 

Most veterinary medicines in Canada are controlled.  You need a veterinary licence to buy some of them or large scale farms can buy these meds in bulk.  The big problem is that I don't have several hundred sheep so spending loads of money on meds that I may use once before they expire, doesn't make sense. 


3) prevention

This is going to be my most affordable and least stressful way to keep critters healthy.


4) the skill I need to make an accurate diagnosis. 
 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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One thing I did a while back is to buy all the equipment I need for doing my own faecal worm count.  The vet (when they used to do these) charged $60 for a faecal test.  I got the equipment to do my own for $75. 

Here's a PDF that shows how to use a McMaster slide.  I already have a microscope, so, in theory, it's just a matter of sitting down and learning how to interpret the test results. 

My theory is, if I can get an accurate faecal test result, then I can avoid using the wrong chemicals.  I can also experiment and see clearly which alternative treatments work for my flock.

So how do I learn to interpret a McMaster test?  Do a bunch and hope I learn something?  A book?  Website?  Online class?  Any thoughts?
 
Deb Rebel
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I did get a few veterinary books over the years, especially when I was keeping all the gerbils and hamsters. My local vet was good at cats and dogs, but not with little ones, but he had a SUPERB book from veterinary college that he referred to, and he helped me get a copy of it. Most of my other was from years back and mostly involved cattle (and my father had a thick 3 ring put out by the government in the late 70's--they had some continuing education classes for farmers and ranchers and had some in the area, and gave out copies of this. It covered literally EVERYTHING about cattle, including how to pull a calf properly. I read that book several times as I had to take my turn in delivering calves at night during calving season.)

If you have such a thing as an Agricultural Extension Office, go to them. You might be able to get material like this for your critter keeping. Good Luck.
 
K Putnam
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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A source of medicine:  If you develop a good, ongoing relationship with a veterinarian, many will write basic prescriptions as needed.   In the last two weeks, I got about $900(really) of prescription meds all via phone and text.  But this is a vet I know very well who knows what I can assess on my own and when I need to ask for help.  I imagine if you had the vet out once or twice a year for affordable tasks to develop a relationship, it would open the door to being able to do things on your own.  Especially because, if you have a relationship, you can get on the phone and get guidance without them coming out.   My vet is so busy, he'd prefer to not come out if it is something we can reasonably work through on the phone.


 
Anne Miller
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Does you local community college offer any medical type courses?  Any for EMT's?  Having some medical knowledge, even if for humans is helpful on the farm. Learn how to treat wounds and stitch up cuts. 

Used Vet. Tech course books are helpful.  Maybe, Deb can give you the name of hers and you can see if it is available.

As for medicines, some antibiotic for fish are the same as the ones given humans and animals.  Also learn what antibiotics you can grow ... like garlic, sida, astragalus.

Most of the meds I give my dog are human meds, I just have to know what is the right dosage.

Learn as much as you can about alternative medicine and medicinal herbs.
 
Liz Hoxie
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Location: Ellisforde, WA
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If you do Facebook, join Totally Natural Goats and More. There is also a Yahoo group by the same name and owned by the same herbalist. The group is not as active as the Facebook group, and there's not as many files.
There's a list of books they recommend.
The books that I have are The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm And Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, and The Accessible Pet, Equine, and Livestock Herbal by Katherine A. Drovdahl MH, CR, DipHIr, CEIT. I'm wanting to get Natural Goat Care by Deborah Neimann.
Kat Drovdahl and Kristie Miller both graduated from Dr. Christopher's School of Natural Healing. Kristie Miller helpad edit Kat Drovdahl's book.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Raven, have you thought of getting in touch with Doc Jones?
His website "The Homegrown herbalist" might be a good place to start learning.
He does courses for herbalist, and since he is a VET, he might be of great help to you in learning what you need to know.
I have noticed that he sometimes posts here too.

Redhawk
 
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