Today I taught my second lecture and taught my students restraint methods for cattle. The students here are very interested in the practical application of the information that I teach them. While many will patiently sit through my 3 hour lectures, some lose interest and come and go as they please. However, they become very interested during our practical field sessions, as they hope to perform veterinary technician-like procedures, and want to know as much as possible before graduation. They were very disappointed last week when I informed them that they could not learn how to perform a c-section in 20 minutes or less.
It has become the rainy season apparently in the last few days. So we were fortunate today that the rain stopped between 2 and 4:30 so that we could safely walk down to the farm pastures and practice rope restraint. There are no shelters in the pastures, and here everything stops when it rains. Given the short torrential outbursts of rain that happen frequently, it makes complete sense to be patient for half an hour and venture forth once the skies have cleared.
Today we learned ropes and restraint techniques for cattle. They had considerable difficulty with a square knot, but fortunately most knew how to tie sliding and quick release knots. Halters are not common use here, so I showed them how to fashion a halter out of a rope, and restrain an animal by the head.
Interestingly, they have been taught to perform most procedures (castration, dehorning, lump removal), with the animal cast on the ground. The students listened intently, although incredulously when I told them that I do many procedures on animals while they are standing. I supposed if you apply enough ropes you may be able to avoid anesthesia altogether (I am encouraging them to consider using anesthesia if they are going to be dehorning or performing other minor procedures). At any rate, I suspect the students enjoyed playing cowboy for the day. They also did not quite believe that a tail jack would stop an animal from kicking.
In reality, the cows here are even more docile than our own dairy cows. They are hand milked twice daily while standing in the field with no more restraint than rope hobbles. They are grazed routinely at the sides of roads, and are used to the constant traffic of motorbikes, cars and people. The biggest danger is their beautiful, large horns. Being used to polled and dehorned animals, I treat these with the greatest respect!