Meet our new vet, Dr. Patrick Tyree. He came to our aid when I called every vet within two hours of here, trying to find one who would help me treat Siobhan's mastitis. (Oddly enough, I found my horse vet during a crisis, too. He's been our vet now for more than 5 years. I expect Dr. Tyree will be around for a long time to come, as well.)
Like pretty much every large animal vet around here, Dr. Tyree drives a white pick-up with a mini-clinic in back. Like pretty much every large animal vet the world over, he spends a lot of time in that truck, getting from one patient to the next.
One thing I learned about Dr. Tyree is that he isn't afraid to get up close and personal with a cow. He gave shots to five of ours and I regret to say that four of them did their best to impersonate bovine broncos at the local rodeo with the two of us along for the ride. Another thing about Dr. Tyree is that I could tell he really likes his patients just by the way he talked to them and handled them. That's something money can't buy!
Finally--and the reason that finding him is such a blessing--Dr. Tyree and his family actually raise, train and sell family milk cows! In our area, most vets prefer to treat only household pets. Those that do treat livestock almost exclusively treat beef cattle and have little or no experience with dairy issues. Of course our Dexters are dual-purpose, but when we're milking them, they are dairy cattle and can develop dairy issues like mastitis and milk fever. It's a relief to have a vet that not only knows how to treat dairy animals, but actually "gets" the whole family cow concept!
Your vet is someone you hope to see only once or twice a year, when immunizations are due to be updated or a calf needs dehorning or castrating. But when a problem occurs--and it will because that's life on a farm--it's a blessing to have a knowledgeable, caring vet on speed dial. It's a blessing to have a vet tell you, "They say you can wait six hours before you need to call a vet for a cow that's having her second calf, but if it's a cow you care about, I'd call after two hours, even at night. If you go back out and find a calf, you can always call me back and tell me to go back to bed."
That kind of vet is a farmer's best friend--and a cow's, too!