Making Sure Calves Are Healthy
Farmer watering calf in individual pen

Making Sure Calves Are Healthy

Dr. Marissa Hake loves being in the barn, working with animals and the families who raise them.  As a veterinarian, she works with veal farmers to make sure the calves are healthy and have everything they need to grow.

“I'm in these barns every single day with our farmers making sure that the overall herd is healthy and doing well,” said Dr. Hake. “I know these calves from calf hood when we first get them, and I watch them grow all the way up until they go to market.”

She has found that the producers care deeply about their animals and reach out to experts when they need help.

“The farmers are very concerned about the health of their animals. They want to work with other producers, the veterinarians, and the nutritionists to make sure the animals are as healthy as they can be. Everyone's very passionate about the care of these animals,” she said.

Sometimes, the animals require special care or medicine.

“In the event that one of our calves gets sick, we're going to treat them, just like I would treat my son if he got sick,” Dr. Hake said.

Guidelines are in place to ensure the meat from the animals is healthy and safe.

“We follow really strict protocols to make sure that we extend the withdrawal times, so when that calf goes to market it is healthy for your family,” Dr. Hake said.

Traceability is another process that helps ensure meat is safe. This is the ability to follow one animal or a group of animals from one point in the supply chain to another.

“Traceability is important for us because we want to know where our calves come from and where they go throughout their lifecycle so we can track each individual animal back from the dairy that it was born on all the way to the plant that it was processed,” Dr. Hake said.

Ensuring calves are happy and healthy is the most rewarding part of her work as a calf veterinarian.

See Dr. Hake at work in this video.