Traditional health care programs are based on the veterinarian providing services to diagnose and treat diseases, recommend vaccination and anthelmintic programs, perform basic surgeries, test for reportable diseases, and perform rectal palpation for pregnancy diagnosis and breeding examination of cows.[2-4] These services are not much different from those described by Hawarth in 1673. Only technical expertise and knowledge are greater. Veterinarians report that the most frequent activities in cattle practice are physical exam, disease diagnosis and treatment, castration and dehorning, and advice on vaccination and anthelmintic programs (Table 1).[3,4] Producers request service as they see problems in the herd.
Traditional veterinary programs are based on the epidemic concept of disease. Disease is caused by a specific agent (bacteria, virus, or other infectious agent) or a specific factor (deficiency, toxicity, irritant, genetic defect). Treatment is specific for the agent, and prevention is synonymous with eliminating the agent from the herd.[2,5] Significant disease conditions have been eliminated from dairy farms based on this concept of disease. Surveillance programs for specific organisms are based on epidemic models of disease (e.g., Mycobac-terium bovis, Brucella abortus). Vaccination and prepur-chase health examinations and tests are designed to prevent epidemic disease problems. Surveillance, testing, vaccination, and monitoring are important components of herd health programs to control epidemic diseases on dairy farms.[2-4]
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