No matter how few or many show animals you have on feed, at some point or another you’ll need the help from a veterinarian. In some cases this assistance maybe in medicine to treat a sick animal or as simple as getting health papers on your animals to go to a show. Regardless, building a relationship with a veterinarian is one of the most important connections to improving your success showing livestock.
For a first time exhibitors it can sometimes be intimating to walk in and meet your local veterinarian. You may also not know where your local veterinarian office is located. The best advice is to ask a breeder close to you who they recommend. Your county extension agent or ag teacher should also be able to point you in the right direction. If you are lucky you might have multiple veterinarians in your area and you’ll want to determine which one works with show livestock most frequently.
It is also very important to start working with your veterinarian early on in your project. “The primary reason for a livestock exhibitor to have a good relationship with a veterinarian is that in order to prescribe and treat animals there must legally be a client-patient-veterinarian relationship,” says Dr. Jimmy Gleason, DVM. By forming a relation with your veterinarian early they will also be more familiar with your project in case you do find yourself in an emergency situation.
Also, remember your veterinarian is there to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about little things you notice that maybe the start of a health issue. More times than not, this will lead to heading off a sickness. Preventative care and a good nutrition program are the best bet to keeping your project on the right on track.