1. Farm Background
It is a Tuesday morning at the Dairy Solutions Veterinary
Clinic. When Dr. Karl arrives, his receptionist meets him at the
door with a message from local dairyman Chuck Erby regarding a
continuing struggle with scours (diarrhea) in his calves.
When Dr. Karl returns the call, Chuck explains, “Well, for the past two weeks I’ve been treating several scouring calves with sulfa antibiotics and oral fluids. I have some calves with pneumonia too. One calf died this morning, and several more look like they may die soon.” Chuck is calling for help treating the sick calves, but Doc knows that the long-term solution to Chuck’s problem requires improved management to help his calves stay healthy. Doc agrees to stop by later that morning.
Dr. Karl and a fourth year veterinary student named Gretchen head out to visit Chuck and his calves. Dr. Karl explains that Chuck Erby is a long-time client who runs a small dairy operation with about 80 milking cows [Note: Most dairy herds will have about as many calves and heifers as they have cows of milking age.] Over the past few years, Mr. Erby has had frequent problems with scours in his calves and usually treats these cases with antibiotics and supportive therapy such as fluids and electrolytes. Mr. Erby has almost no help in running his farm and has said he does not have time to make the management changes that Doc has recommended before.