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Objective

To determine what effect participation by veterinarians in a dairy production medicine continuing education course would have on herd performance and management practices of client herds.

Design

Cohort study.

Sample Population

56 dairy herds for which health services were provided by veterinarians enrolled in a dairy production medicine continuing education program (treatment herds) and 97 dairy herds for which health services were provided by veterinarians not enrolled in the program (control herds).

Procedure

Management practices were evaluated every year for 4 years (1991 through 1994) by mail questionnaire. Herd performance was evaluated by reviewing Dairy Herd Improvement Association records.

Results

Mean age at first calving for the treatment herds decreased by 2 months over the course of the study. At the end of the study, treatment herds were 3 times more likely to review herd performance with their veterinarian and monitor heifer growth, and 2 times more likely to set goals and conduct adequate estrus detection than were control herds.

Clinical Implications

Effective professional continuing education in production medicine can have a positive impact on health and performance of client herds. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1086-1089)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association