Of nightmares

My annual TB test became due, so after arranging a meetup at the cowfield with my Vet, the cows were duly  led out to graze the pathway whilst their necks had patches of hair cut out in order to inject two types of tuburculin to see if they cause a reaction.

The cows were really stroppy and the brown cow sent one injector gun flying into the lean to. Luckily the Vet is well experienced and had painted a “marker” on each gun, both to identify one from the other and to locate them in the case of such an event. The flies are making the cows irritable and the black cow nearly pulled me over with the added assult on her person. When finished, we put the girls back behind the gate and whilst walking back up the bank I was bemoaning the fact that the cow was drying up and not yet in calf so we are going to have to rely on the goats for milk, but this does not cover the butter and cream we have come to rely on. And how can anyone cope without cheese? The Vet told me that we were very lucky to be set up with such luxury as DEATHRA is sneakily introducing the European plan for fresh milk. There will not be any. Within 10 years all milk sold on this island will be UHT. Uuk!!!

 Back at home I felt the need to share this gem of information and felt very smug, not only that we would not have to rely on UHT but we might just be able to readily find homes for any future heifer calves. DH’s first comment was, “I wonder what the next scare will be?” Hmmm…

 Roll forward to the morning of the test reading and I went to check the water as it was going to be a hot day and whilst strolling amongst the girls, The Boy suddenly made a grab for the nearest headcollar as he shouted to me. I went over and there on the necks of them both were huge telltale lumps.

 Panic began. I must try to get rid of the lumps in case the Vet thought they were reactions. Cursing myself that as I had decided to dry off the black cow, I had been doing a distance check. Making sure they were content and they had water rather than go up to them and bring them to the gate where they would stay and shout for hours as the routine was broken. Slowly as I was looking fruitlessly for a homeopathic remedy for flybites or stings, reality dawned.

My beautiful cows were TB reactors!

My moment of dread and to avoid the shock truth, which was just too much, my mind had allowed the facts to filter slowly through over at least an hour whilst I piddled around.

Seeing my face, the Vet realised as soon as he came through the gate that something was very wrong and after confirming what I now knew, he spent a long while just talking about  other stuff, TB in general, TB in the district and about what would happen in the days to come. I remember some of what he said, or most or even all of it, I really don’t know. Firstchild walked away in devastation and drove home as she had a meeting to go to. The Boy and the shepherd came back and we put the girls away and came home.

Numbness took over the rest of the day, but I decided that I might be able to have a retest.  DEATHRAs own figures claim a miserly 65% accuracy for the skin test. I must be a special case as this was in fact 100% of my herd. There were no followers waiting to enter my milkherd, I could not just go out and buy two replacements. My girls were halter broken and can be led around better than a lot of horses. They had been handled and led around since a couple of days old. I could sit beside them and hand milk them. In fact I did daily until 3 days ago. To start again to get a milking cow and be at the stage I am at now, would take a minimum of 3 years. I must work my way through my arguments and I now had hope. I remembered the Vet had said I would hear from DEATHRA in about 10 days. So I had 10 days to decide what I would say and to work out why I should be allowed another test. I would find a herbal immune booster and the girls would be in the peak of health and shrug off the poisonous tuberculin as they have done every year since I got my first cows.

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Published in: on Sunday June 21st, 2009 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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