Short communication: Veterinary health management in Azorean bovine dairy farms
Aim of study: To describe veterinary services and farm management practices in cattle dairy farms in São Miguel Island in the Azores and to identify weak points for improvement.
Area of study: São Miguel Island, Azores (Portugal).
Material and methods: A questionnaire survey was sent to all veterinarians who work in São Miguel Island. It asked about veterinary activity and perceptions of veterinarians working on dairy farms. The van der Waerden test was used to compare the degree of implementation of measures in farms between cooperative veterinarians and private veterinarians.
Main results: The overall questionnaire response rate was 67% (20/30). The percentage of veterinarians dedicated to bovine medicine as the main service was 55.6%. Overall, between 40% and 60% of veterinarians implemented a variety of Veterinary Herd Health Medicine (VHHM) programs such as mastitis control, breeding assessment and postpartum management, and the average implementation score of these VHHM, on a 1 to 5 scale, was 2.8 (95% confidence interval: 2.0-3.5). However, other VHHM programs such as biosecurity or hygiene procedures were implemented at a lower rate, ranging between 20% and 30%, and this needs to be improved.
Research highlights: Veterinary practicioners in São Miguel Island, Azores still focus their activity more on individual bovine medicine than in VHHM programs; besides, there is room for improvement in the implementation of some of these programs, such as reproduction, hoof health, nutrition, hygiene and biosecurity. This may be a similar situation to that of other regions in the world with a similar production structure.
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