The Covid-19 lockdown has provided a fair bit of time to reflect. It was during one of those periods of reflection that I started to wonder what was the piece of kit in my truck that I would least like to be forced to give up? Along the lines of Desert Island Discs where by default you get a copy of the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, I think that a farm vet at least deserves a stethoscope, thermometer, a box of rectal gloves and a bottle of lube but then what?
Surprisingly it didn’t take me long to decide…. it has to be my trusty SELEKT Pump-Drencher. I acquired mine some 11 years ago shortly after I joined LLM and bar a couple of replacement hoses that have either been accidentally chewed, trodden on by a cow or driven over, it is still going strong. Can I put a value on it? That’s hard to quantify but it’s undoubtedly saved many a cow’s life so if I was a farmer, I reckon I’d put that down as a great return on the few hundred quid of investment to purchase one. What’s more, they come with a lifetime of free replacement moving parts which effectively means it will never die if looked after properly. I may well be preaching to the converted here because an increasing number of clients now possess one of these pumps so all that remains to say is if you haven’t got one, I would think seriously about adding one to your equipment list. I guarantee that you will not regret it because it truly is a life saver. Many clients who have one tell me how they can’t believe how they managed before they had it.
Once you have purchased your pump you need to know what to deliver with it. It is also worth a recap for existing users because recent years have seen a growth in supplementary products available to administer via the pump system. Even if you only administer warm water via pump to an “off colour” or freshly calved cow, this is a step in the right direction, but we would encourage you to go further and add supportive supplements to the water to gain even more benefit.
The SELEKT range is tried and tested and has been developed with veterinary input using sound scientific principles to create a range of specific products for specific indications. We have been using them very effectively for many years now and they form the core of our recommended oral fluid supplements. It is worth noting that more or less anyone can produce a sachet or powder to add to water to pump into a cow so please be aware that they are not all equal despite what you may get told. Many are bulked out with cheap fillers such as glucose and milk powder which primarily help make the mix palatable so that cows may drink them voluntarily – perhaps easier for you but not necessarily as effective at dealing with the cow’s underlying issue – after all “medicine” rarely tastes nice!
This sachet targets fresh cows at point of calving. It will reduce the risk of milk fever and subclinical milk fever by delivering plenty (108g) of calcium and ketosis by delivering glucose precursors. It contains yeast to stimulate the rumen and by administering it in 20L of water it helps fill the rumen to reduce the potential void that the abomasum can drift into (leading to LDA) and also corrects dehydration a very common finding in the fresh cow. One sachet given at point of calving is usually enough but if a cow subsequently goes on to develop milk fever then the high level of calcium it provides is an extremely useful supportive therapy at this time.