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Making Food is HARD! --Final Update on Betty



Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 28 November 2023…

Hey Y’all!


MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL. ANALYZE THE SITUATION AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. LAND AS SOON AS CONDITIONS PERMIT.


Dealing with an emergency when you are in an aircraft is an entirely different beast than when you encounter an emergency with your feet on the ground. From the beginning of pilot training, the procedures above are hammered into our brains. If you do not maintain control of your aircraft, it doesn’t matter how well you do in analyzing the problem. If you identify the correct system that has malfunctioned but crash into the ground, you are still dead. Once you are certain that the aircraft is still flying, it is time to analyze the situation. We are taught that the first step in that process is to take a deep breath. Do not rush into this step. If you don’t take time to analyze the entire situation, you can misidentify the problem and at best, waste time finding the real issue and at worst, you make the situation worse. Once you have the problem analyzed you can then take the appropriate action. Sometimes that is as simple as reseting a system…sometimes it is as catastrophic as ejecting. If you are able to continue flying the aircraft, you must determine when the conditions are right to land. Some emergencies require you to land as soon as possible, others may allow you to continue the mission and land normally. We practice this iterative process of dealing with emergencies multiple times a day at first and by the end of a career, it is ingrained. In a medical emergency, a similar process, triage, is used. Triage is the preliminary assessment of patients or casualties in order to determine the urgency of their need for treatment and the nature of treatment required.


The vet called yesterday late afternoon with Betty’s test results. “Your Jersey is positive for Johne’s Disease.” I immediately went into emergency procedures mode. 1) AIRCRAFT CONTROL—no person or animal is going to die right this minute if we don’t take action. Move on to the next step. 2) ANALYZE THE SITUATION— We needed information, fast. We quickly determined it is fatal, incurable, contagious, and with each bowel movement, she is shedding billions of pathogens. TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION—As difficult as it may seem, I walked outside and put her down. Step 3) LAND AS SOON AS CONDITIONS PERMIT—this is where we are currently.


We’ve already made two trips to the vet this morning, first to pick up the materials necessary to draw Happy’s blood so she can be tested and then to deliver the sample. Side note—[We’ve never taken blood from a cow…or any person or animal for that matter. We watched the vet do it once and this morning I watched a quick video and read someone’s blog on how to do it. It went perfectly smooth and I was able to draw twice the amount of blood necessary on the first attempt without incident.] What about Betty’s heifer calf, Stella? From our research, she is most likely positive, but asymptomatic and not contagious. The disease is undetectable in cattle prior to the age of 2 so we’re still about 14 months from her even being able to be tested. We immediately cleaned any manure out of the milking area and restricted Happy and Stella from the area. We are going to apply lime today as a high ph has been shown to reduce the time the pathogen is viable in the soil. We have to make some big animal moves to get Happy and Stella to a different paddock and will work today and tomorrow to get that done. That’s as far as we’ve gotten. We have lots more decisions to make.


I’ll attempt to answer a couple of questions you may have, because we had them too.


Where/how did she get it? Most likely, she got it as a newborn calf. Depending on the study you read, 63% on the low end and as much as 93% on the high end, this disease is prevalent in dairy herds in the United States. Calves can potentially become infected in utero or from nursing an infected cow that had manure on her teats. Since cows cannot be tested prior to 2 years, buyers of heifer calves have to trust the farm/dairy/producer that is selling the heifer to have a clean herd. Our source is aware of the issue and is contemplating how to move forward. This is not something we did, not something the farm from which we bought her did, nor something either of us should have expected.


Did you have to put her down? Couldn’t you treat it? What about false positives? Trust me, this was a difficult decision. We have had our hands on this cow every day for the past 18 months. We took her from a wild heifer to an amazingly calm high-producing milk cow. This disease is a bad one. There is one antibiotic that has shown some positive results, but the treatment is a 12 month long regimen, costs nearly $100,000, and is not guaranteed to work. Treatment was out of the question. The test is over 99% accurate and she was displaying all of the symptoms of being positive so the vet said that she was 100% certain this was a positive case. Betty was sick, not feeling well at all, and getting worse…quickly. And she was contaminating the ground with each bout of diarrhea.


That’s it for now. The pics today are Happy, our still producing hopefully (and seemingly) healthy A2/A2 Jersey; and Stella, Betty’s amazing A2/A2 heifer calf.


I’ll leave you with a thought…making food is hard.


Local Farm Report for 24-27 November 2023

Harvest:

35 Chicken eggs

30 Duck eggs

8 1/2 Gallons of milk

Loss:

One amazing A2/A2 Jersey cow. Happy Trails, “Whoa Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam)”!


Cheers!

Psycho & Shelley

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rcgable
rcgable
30. Nov. 2023

Sorry about Betty! I hate that happened to her and to your farm. Hopefully your quick actions have provide the other animals safety from the disease as well!

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Thanks, Robert! We hope so, too.

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amrystad
amrystad
30. Nov. 2023
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So sorry to hear about Betty! These dairy cows are so easy to get attached to. 🥺

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Thank you! Very true.

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Steven Griswold
Steven Griswold
28. Nov. 2023

Sad news about Betty, a tough loss no doubt but hopefully your quick and decisive response has contained the disease.

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Thanks, Griz! We hope so, too.

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Gast
28. Nov. 2023
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So very sorry to hear about Betty. Had my fingers crossed her test would be negative. We become attached to our animal family and its crushing when to make the hard decision to put them down. You saved Betty from enduring the inevitable.

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Antwort an

Thank you for your concen! Very true...

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Auntie Fiat
Auntie Fiat
28. Nov. 2023

So sorry to hear this. Hugs all the way around.

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Thank you!

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