A Cowboy’s Faith: Cold night healthcare rewarded

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Could you please come help a heifer with a prolapse from birthing her calf?”
It was 2 o’clock in the morning, below freezing, winter moisture, herdsman calling the veterinarian 25 miles away.
Less than an hour, not smiling but ready for her job, the bundled-up animal health doctor arrived.
Heifer and wet but alive newborn were in protection of the barn. That is a major deal compared to the wet, cold, snowy mud dim shadowy corral.
Or, in the middle of the half section pasture miles from civilization with pickup headlights and low-battery flashlights. Through the decades there have been all of those scenarios thankfully with understanding yet inner-grudgingly cooperating veterinarians.
Such medical assistance is difficult in the best of environment softened some being inside despite tightness of confinement. Sanitation is of obvious importance with barn straw bedding considerably better than sloppy germ-ridden barnyard conditions.
Sure not knowing much about the physical aspects of it all, for the even less informed, simple explanation seems appropriate. Mr. Webster said, “Prolapse is to slip or fall out of its proper place in the body.”
What comes out must go back in, stay there, combat any infections which might arise, and heal up. The very good doctor adjusted, manipulated, pushed, medicated and got everything in place again sewed up tight.
Certainly more than anxious to pay whatever the charges, always small compared to losing a calf, let alone a cow. Yet, more importantly in most cases is the expression of appreciation for services.
Nearly impossible to say “thank you” enough for one getting out in a winter night to care for a cow. Truly that’s most ethical dedication to professional service.
Best part of this dreaded true life aspect of being in the cow-calf business, the heifer got up and is alive. She has a living calf, too.
That’s far from always the case. Many times the calf is born dead or too weak to survive.
Likewise, frequently a heifer with such terrible stress on her female organs will not get up. Even those that initially show recovery often are beaten back by contaminations and poor healing such to succumb.
Despite surviving this dire procedure, the heifer will not be expected to calve again.
Reminded of Jeremiah 38:2: “They will have life as a reward and stay alive.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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