Ask the Expert Animal Health Q&A
Dr Paul Dettloff (DVM) was born into a Minnesota dairy farming family in the 1940’s when pine tar and Lysol were the main cow remedies and no pesticides were needed for a good corn crop. He has witnessed dairy and veterinary practices shift from simple disinfectants to heavy use of antibiotics and feed supplements while farms got bigger, more complex, generally less profitable and cows got sicker.
At first as a vet, he was swept along with the tide of ‘better living through chemistry’ and liberal use of antibiotics for intensive dairy production feeding seeds or grains instead of grass or forage plants. The result was increasingly sick animals, and use of ‘cides’ that killed off crucial soil microbes. In the 1970’s and 80’s his Wisconsin vet practice was seeing new, pervasive cow conditions: bad feet, lowered immune systems, poor breeding, mastitis, laminitis and poor colostrum.
When one of his farmer clients went organic in the early 1990’s, he realised that he didn’t actually have any remedies to help their cows except saline and glucose IV. Thus began his journey to rediscover and expand on the wealth of information on plant based remedies that existed in the early 1900’s. He schooled himself up on tinctures, homeopathy, essential oils and the time-tested approaches of close observation and mimicking Nature’s approach to healing.
For the last 25 years he has helped lead USA dairying toward a veterinary approach that stresses soil and good nutrition as the basis of ruminant health, and ultimately of excellent milk quality. Dr Dettloff is adamant: the first veterinary dollar a farmer spends should be on calcium/lime for his soil.
Dr Paul sees soil health, the farm fertiliser program and long stemmed diverse pastures as the basis for success on any ruminant farm. If the soil’s not alive and minerally balanced, with adequate trace elements, then little else will function well. It all starts in the soil and moves on to the rumen, which is just another form of microbe community in the circle of live that allows us to look after soil, animals and ourselves in an environmentally enriching manner.
Dr Dettloff will be answering farmer questions on animal health at the ODPG Conference on March 21 via Skype link. Prepare your question and get yourself signed up for the Conference at the Karapiro Boatshed near Cambridge.
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