Dr. Paul Dettloff, a highly acclaimed vet from Wisconsin, came to Oregon to teach a basic seminar on alternative medicine for large animals (sheep, goats, cows), and a friend and I decided to see what it was all about.
What a whirlwind event. Five hours of intensive discussion, lectures and information overload.
Overview: the most effective medicine is prevention. Healthy animals can only be cultivated by starting with the three pillars: 1. highly-mineralized soil, 2. full-stemmed forage, 3. high brix. Supplementation is essential, as well as culling to improve animal genetics. Beyond this starting point, well-made herbal medicines have the potential not only to equal conventional treatment, but exceed the current standards while caring for the whole health of the animal and not allowing harmful bacteria to mutate out of control.
Here are some of my notes for perusal...
Aloe vera supports the immune system by suppressing cortisol, a stress hormone. Dosage is 1 oz. per hundredweight, 2x a day. Has 10 different uses, including: heals the epithelium, synovial joints, and is also anti-inflammatory.
Vit. C and other antioxidants scavenge debris and stimulate the Thymus gland, which is directly responsible for producing T-cells in the immune system. The tincture form lasts up to 18 hours in the bloodstream, as opposed to only 4 hours when taken in powder/capsule form.
Humates: think gut health. Cryptosporidem and coccidiosis prevention in calves, improved forage utilization in adult animals, etc. Dr. Paul's Calf Start contains humates: dosage is 1/2 oz. per day for four weeks after calving, and 3 days at weaning.
Arnica: use for hemhorrage, trauma, injury (best combination is arnica, comfrey and colloidal silver). Either herb or homeopathic form works.
Burdock root: use for fatty liver prevention in cattle.
Garlic: many uses, typically only off-flavors milk when wild onion tops (flowering) are eaten fresh. Dried garlic is not a problem in typical dosage.
Lavender essential oil for wounds/foot sores.
ACV is a precursor to carbonic acid... which in turn liberates calcium for absorbtion (aha!). One of the best forms of supplemental calcium is Oregonite calcium. ACV also helps alkalinize the system (the appropriate pH of a cow's rumen is 6.5... most animals feed a lot of grain becomes dangerously acidic: acidosis).
Supplements for dairy cattle should include (all free choice, loose minerals) kelp, Redmond sea salt, humates, and a 2-1 or 1-1 blend of calcium/phosphorus.
What to look for when purchasing an animal:
* Shiny coat (long-haired in winter)
* Thymic swirl (on neck above brisket) will reflect sunlight
* 'Happy lines' along body
* No red tinge (shows copper deficiency, parasites or stray voltage)
- Look at ear/tail of Jerseys
* Strong feet/legs.
* Wide (think heavy-set) body.
- Calves raised on milk replacer will be 'two-stories' (tall, all legs), often ears will be wider than the rest of the body, thin and anaemic.
* Eyes - alert but not jittery (indicates too much potassium in diet - i.e. NPK fertilized hay.
* Talk for a few minutes to the animal, rub along the cowlick and down the neck.
* Cows - test for Staph A and Johnnes
* Goats - test for Johnnes
Johnnes disease: many scary similarities to the human Chrohnes disease. Iron with a hydrogen atom added has an added positive charge (acidotic state), and has been linked with Johnnes. Cause: GMO corn and changes in gut flora. Johnnes is usually caught/transferred before the age of 6 months, adult cows rarely get it.
Assisting calving: In a breach birth, run hand up right side of calf and down left, check for cord caught around the left leg. Be patient and pull slowly. In uterine torsions, vulva looks more puckered. Don't be afraid to get in there and have a feel around, but know when you're beat and call for help.
Ketosis: treat with ACV, molasses, Dr. Paul's Wellness Tonic, and some grain.
Pressure points: at the insertion of the milk vein, towards the animal's head, put you finger in the little hollow and press to help with milk let-down. To stop bleeding (especially from the udder), pull back on the pin ligaments (towards the head) until stitching is in. There are also pressure points along the back/neck when meeting a new animal, to calm them.
Rather than thinking in terms of NPK fertilizer, the CEC (Cationic Exchange Capacity) of the soil should be about 60% Calcium, 15% Magnesium, and 5% Potassium.
Field amendments in a wet climate like NW Oregon are almost always deficient in Calcium, Sulphur and Boron. For soil improvement, use Gypsum and apply foliar sprays containing Solu-bor annually.
Foliar spray for your pastures/lawns:
In a 2-gallon container, mix:
3 oz. ACV (cationic activator)
4 oz. Liquid Fish (protein)
3 oz. molasses (energy)
3 oz. liquid kelp (trace minerals)
4 oz. humic/folic acid
1/4 C. Redmond salt
1 quart raw milk (beneficial bacteria)
2 oz. garlic (barrier)
optional: Solubor (boron) and Sulfur (1 oz.) as indicated by soil test