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Game Changers in 75 Years of Veterinary Medicine

Pipestone Veterinary Services is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving clients this year.  It’s astounding how much has changed in 75 years of animal care.  Here is my list of the most significant changes since 1942:

  1. Transportation.
    In 1942 livestock were herded or transported by small trucks and the most efficient method of moving large numbers was by rail.  One did not just load up the trailer and haul something to town.  All of the trucks or trailers were elevated and thus you always needed a loading ramp.  Most slaughter facilities were located at railway centers such as Kansas City, Chicago and St. Paul.  Most cattle were likely transported once in their lifetime, when they went to slaughter.  Buying and selling of young stock was local and in many cases limited to neighbors in which case the animals were herded.  Today, many cattle move locations many times in their life.  In the case of commercial beef cows many are transported for grazing and during drought conditions.
  2. Mechanized Feeding.
    75 years ago. mechanization on farms saved labor harvesting grain and feed, however the feeding of cattle, and the removal of manure involved much hand labor.  This greatly limited the size of cattle farms and dairies as expansion plans relied on adding hired labor.  Today one person can easily feed 1000 cattle a day and many dairies operate an 80 cows per full time employee.
  3. Genetic improvement.
    In the 1940’s a finished steer did not weigh even 1,000 lbs and it probably took 3 years to get to that weight.  Dairy cows produced about 15 lbs per day today they produce 80-100 lbs per day.  Certainly, environment and nutrition have improved but without the genetic improvement we would not have gotten to where we are today.
  4. Animal Health Innovations.
    75 years ago vaccines, antibiotics and disease testing as we know them today did not exist.  Quarantine and Euthanasia were the foundation of epidemic disease control.  Most Veterinary treatments used at the time were simply supportive care.  Today we have effective disease diagnostic and disease control measures to minimize health risks to cattle operations.

These are my top 4 game changes in animal care since 1942.  Think it over, if I have missed any big ones I welcome the discussion the next time we visit your operation.

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