Iím sure youíve read about the VFD. Itís kinda like BVD, bovine viral diarrhea, only VFD is a disease of the bureaucracy. In my opinion, itís just another in a long line of regulations to fix something that wasnít broke. VFD stands for Veterinary Feed Directive and itís an attempt to turn your vet into a paper pushing pharmacist. To learn about VFD youíve been urged to develop a closer relationship with your vet. Hah!
Every large animal vet I know is so busy meeting himself coming and going that he or she doesnít have time for writing prescriptions, or for strengthening personal relationships. Most large animal vets I know arenít what youíd call ďtouchy feelyĒ kind of people anyway. Some are downright grouchy, probably because theyíre already 45 minutes late for their next appointment.
But ranchers and their animals should be extremely grateful for our vets and some day weíre going to look back and realize that ranchers and their stock never had it so good as right now. You call them up with a problem and they came out to your place and fix it. Or not.
Thereís already a large animal veterinarian shortage and itís only going to get worse because 80 percent of students in American vet schools are female, and most of them want to be equine or small animal vets.
So overburdened cow docs are now going to be even more overworked writing prescriptions, pushing pills and giving consults.
Weíre gonna miss the days when your vet came out to the ranch for a difficult calving cow and even though he may have just held the calf in a little longer to make you think you were getting your moneyís worth, at least you did everything you could and felt good about it. Even if all the vet did was give a sick cow a vitamin shot to make you think he was doing something, at least you felt better. Even though the cow may not have.
This is just the first of many regulations the government will use to turn your vet into a pill pusher and your sick cows into DOAís. Theyíll die from complications. It may come as a big shock to younger people reading this column to learn that medical doctors used to come to your house when you were sick to fix what was wrong. Or not!
The day is not too far off when vets will no longer make ranch calls. To treat a sick cow youíll have to haul it into town where youíll sit in a waiting room reading three year old cow magazines for 45 minutes. Youíll have to pay first and be asked to fill out a four page questionnaire every time you come in that asks you all sorts of embarrassing questions.
If itís a sick cow youíll be asked when it was born and if its father ever had lump or a venereal disease. You are given this questionnaire to give you something to do while youíre waiting. (No one actually ever refers to these pieces of paper, they are just stored away in bankerís boxes somewhere.)
You may note that youíre the only one in the waiting room and while you canít get in to see the vet, a parade of drug salesmen are getting to see the Doc to give him free pens and pads of paper with the name of a new drug on them.
After the requisite length of waiting youíll be taken into a stark room where youíll wait another 30 minutes until a nurse comes and takes your temperature and blood pressure, even though itís your animal thatís sick, not you. Then youíll wait another 30 minutes until your vet finally enters. Heíll then tell you that your blood pressure is high, no doubt because youíve just wasted two hours.
Your vet may, or may not, go see the sick animal in your trailer. Then heíll look in his cupboard for some old free samples of a drug thatís about to expire and youíll be told to come back in two weeks. After that time if your cow is still alive your vet will then refer you to a specialist. Probably his brother-in-law.
At this point youíll give up and illegally buy some black market antibiotics off the Internet from Canada.
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