August 02, 2012

Facts: All Vets Are Off

  • Michigan agriculture contributes $71.3 billion annually to the state's economy, making it the second largest industry.

  • Farming is a way of life in Michigan; there are approximately 56,000 farms covering a vast 10 million acres.

  • Over 85% of farms in Michigan are individually- or family-owned and operated.

  • In spite of urban expansion into farm acres, the state still has about 56,000 farms totaling just over 10 million acres. Of these, 48,687 are family- or individually-owned, and 2,494 are owned by corporations. The average size farm is 179 acres.

  • Nationally, Michigan is the number one producer of blueberries, tart cherries, squash, and several types of flowers, including geraniums, inpatients, and petunias.

  • Cornell University is perennially the top veterinary program in the United States.

  • With only 28 accredited veterinary medicine programs in the United States, admission is extremely competitive—only about 40% of the vet school applicants are accepted.

  • Veterinarians enjoy a very low unemployment rate of just 1.4%, which has risen 50% since 2005.

  • Veterinarians typically complete four years of undergraduate coursework and another four years in Veterinary College. Specialists, Ph.D.s, and academic scholars spend an additional three to five years in school.

  • 75% of students who graduated veterinary school in 2011 had been offered at least one job or an opportunity to further their education.

  • In 2011, the average starting salary for a full-time veterinarian was about $47,000; the average amount of student loan debt carried by graduating veterinary students is over $142,000.

  • Milk fever is a metabolic disorder found in 3–8% of dairy cows. It generally occurs 1–3 days after giving birth, when calcium levels in the blood are low.

  • Milk fever symptoms begin with muscle tremors, reduced appetite, and general unsteadiness; in later stages cows can be constipated, have a low body temperature, and be unable to stand.

  • If not treated promptly, cattle can experience a shortened lifespan, reduced milk productivity, or even death; however, only about 5% of affected cows die from the disorder.

  • Milk fever can be combated with a combination of medicine and diet during the calving process.

  • Vaginal prolapse is a condition generally found in un-spayed young female dogs in which the tissue of the vagina becomes swollen when they are in proestrus and estrus. Some of the treatments include the use of a urinary catheter, hormonal treatments to stimulate ovulation, and anti-hemorrhoid creams. The only way to ensure your dog does not get this condition is to have them spayed at the appropriate time.

  • Chronic wasting disease is a neurological condition that produces small brain lesions in deer and elk. These brain lesions cause behavioral irregularities, muscle and body structure atrophy, difficulty walking, and eventually death.

  • Prion protein cells have no DNA; once attached, they kill brain cells by triggering regularly occurring proteins to become misfolded.

  • Prions can be passed directly via deer saliva, feces, and urine, and also through contaminated soil or food.

  • Cattle farmers castrate bull calves for a variety of reasons: to stop hormone and semen production, preventing undesired mating, to make cattle tamer and more docile for farm work, and to decrease aggressiveness and risk of injury to workers and other animals.

  • After castration, a bull calf is known as a steer—a male calf raised specifically for beef production.

  • There are several methods used for castration. These include hormone suppression treatments, injection of chemical agents and physical methods.

  • Physical castration methods are the most common; options include rubber banding and Burdizzo clamps, or removal by surgery.

  • Castration in bulls is a painful and stressful process, typically followed by a period of slow growth. Additional risks include excessive bleeding or swelling, infection, and unsuccessful castration.

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