Life as a farm vet

Here at Damory Veterinary Clinic in Blandford we have six full-time dedicated farm vets, alongside our small animal & equine teams. The majority of our work involves looking after dairy cattle, but we also see plenty of beef herds and sheep flocks; along with smallholders owning a variety of species including goats, poultry and alpacas.

Our days can be extremely varied, with a mix of pre-planned and emergency visits. For example I could be ultrasound scanning cows to see if they are pregnant, TB testing, dealing with emergencies such as difficult births, treating poorly animals, operating on a cow with a displaced stomach – the list is endless. Not knowing what you might do each day (or night!) is one of the most exciting aspects of our job.

Giving a cow intravenous fluids

Some parts of farm veterinary work are very seasonal, with Spring being notoriously busy. However there are some moments that make it all worth it: such as treating a severely dehydrated calf with a fluid drip, watching them go from listless to bouncing around the pen in a matter of hours! Or ultrasound scanning a cow and seeing that she is “in calf” (pregnant), after you nursed her back to health from severe illness a few months earlier. Calvings and lambings, including C-sections, are also immensely satisfying – the feeling of bringing new life into the world never gets old!

As well as visiting farms, there is also technical office-based work looking at farms’ data to keep us busy. We have several software programmes enabling us to analyse data and advise farms on how they can improve their herds’ health most efficiently.

Pregnancy scanning a ewe

Personally my special interest is infectious disease control, so when I’m not out on visits you might find me analysing results or advising farmers on control plans, including vaccination, tailored to their individual farms. It is so rewarding to get to know our clients and their farms, working with them over time to improve herd health. I am also enrolled on a post-graduate qualification, the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. My colleagues have particular interests in areas such as fertility, dairy cow lameness, mastitis, youngstock and suckler herd management.

To see more about our services & what we get up to, find us on Facebook “Damory Farm Vets” or Instagram @damoryvetsdorset_farm

By: Laura Sage BVSc (Dist) MRCVS

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