Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cleaning the Vet Cupboard

As ranchers, one of our major responsibilities is keeping our livestock healthy. We have an extensive, year-round, fully customized health program for every animal on our ranch that is designed to keep them healthy without overdoing it with any health related area. We typically buy these health items as we get ready to work the cattle and administer them.
But, because of the expense associated with several common, and uncommon, health issues in livestock, and the often long drive to town to have them treated, most ranchers are armed and ready to treat any number of ailments in their cattle, sheep or hogs at any time. Keeping the necessary medicines, instruments and other tools required for these tasks is a part of ranch life, and another great example of what we're willing to do to save an animal, or help it get over a health related ailment.

Having all the necessary stuff on-hand also means you need a place to store it. Enter the "vet cupboard" at our house. I forgot to snap a before picture, but everything you can see on the floor (minus the shoes and laundry basket) were in that cupboard. It was getting pretty disorganized, so I took it upon myself to clean it all out so we can find stuff when we need it. This is a chore that just needs to happen every couple years.

The cupboard (it's not crooked in real life) all wiped out and ready to go. Some marking spray paint spilled a while ago, hence the green stains. Information on mixing different medicines with water, and other beneficial information is taped inside the door for easy access.

What I drug out of the cupboard included several bottles of LA200 (the Oxymycin 200), a common low-grade antibiotic we use to treat many illnesses in our cattle, some indictable parasite control for cattle, snake bite treatment, marking paint and an assortment of other medicines that don't require refrigeration....

Ear tags, ear tag ink, bottles and nipples used to feed bum calves (those that have lost their mother), taggers for both sheep and cattle, disinfectant used for castrating bull calves....

Enough dog wormer, flea and tick stuff to last a while...

Various needles, syringes, bottles of more specific medicines prescribed by a vet, pill guns (blurry white thing in bottom left of picture), and that wooden thing is what we would poke through our lamb's ears to give them their scrapie vaccine

Colostrum for newborn calves, boluses for cow's that haven't naturally cleaned (expelled their afterbirth) after calving...

A whole box of paint marking sticks...

Various other things, including a box with everything you need, instrument wise, to fix a prolapse in a cow.

When I was done, all the dog/pet stuff, along with the electric branding irons and clipboard we use a lot when writing down information while working cattle, were put on the top shelf.

Shelf two now houses all the needles, small syringes, and other miscellaneous stuff (like the prolapse container, everything needed to do a c-section on a cow/sheep, heavy duty tape to cover wounds, etc...) in an easy to grab and sort through tray. Also on this shelf is the disinfectant for castrating, and a few pour-on applicator guns in the back.

Shelf three has a box for all our paint marking sticks, a number of different kinds of boluses (think a pill for a cow) used to treat everything from cows that don't clean to scours in calves. The pill guns that we use to administer a bolus, in most cases, are right next to the bags and containers of boluses, and our big syringes and extra glass for them are on the right.

Calf bottles and nipples, drench gun (what you use to feed a calf that can't suck a bottle), cutheal, fly repellent, more boluses, colostrum replacement, electrolytes, snake bite treatment, sheep tags we no longer use, and a variety of indictable medicines and anesthetics are on the next shelf.

On the bottom shelf, in the back are two dog coats we put on calves if they get cold right after being born, all the ear tags, ear tag ink, ear tag applicators, ear notchers, and a lunchbox we keep our refrigerated vaccines and medicines in when we work cattle.

Now the vet cupboard looks like this. Everything is easily accessible, inventory has been taken so stuff we're out of can be purchased, and things of common use are more grouped together. In addition to a vet cupboard, most ranchers also have a number of indictable medicines that need refrigerated on hand at all times. I did not make it through organizing those...yet.

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