SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR A HEALTHY ANIMAL
1. Does the animal react normally to its environment and in the herd or is it acting strangely? (Behaviour)
2. Does it carry its head, ears, body and tail as usual? Does it walk normally? (Attitude)
3. Is the animal in good condition and is it well muscled, neither too thin or too fat? (Condition)
4. Does it eat, drink and ruminate properly?
5. Does it urinate and defaecate normally?
6. If a cow is in milk, is there a sudden drop in milk production?
7. Any other abnormal signs?
Consult a veterinarian in case any change is noticed
OBSERVING BASIC HEALTH PARAMETERS
- Breathing frequency - (Breathing in + breathing out) is 10-30 times per minute in normal adults and 30-50 times per minute in calves. Observed best from the animal’s right flank, seen from behind.
- Rumination - Not less than 40 times per minute and 7-10 hours per day.
- Rumen movement - Two to three per minute, can be felt by pressing lightly on the upper part of the left flank.
- Appearance - A healthy animal has a shining, smooth and even coat as well as shiny horns and hoofs. Eyes should also be normal without discharge or tears and muzzle moist.
- Fever - Usually accompanied by rapid breathing, shivering and occasionally diarrhoea. Ears, horns and legs are usually cold to touch while body is too warm.
If any change is observed in the above parameters or fever seen, consult a veterinarian.
Body condition scoring
Dry cows and calving cows should have a body condition score of 3.5 (See chapter on body scoring)
Observe your animals closely to help diagnose diseases early