Most veterinarians who work with farmers use production and animal health data collected by the producer in order to tailor their advice. The intensive farm animal production systems (poultry, pigs, dairy, beef feedlots) have well-developed data capture, analysis, and interpretation systems. Extensive production systems (e.g., ranch beef) have lesser developed systems but often capture significant information on the health and productivity of livestock. These data are available to the production animal consultants (including veterinarians) but are usually from farm management software programs. These programs tend to be species and enterprise specific; therefore, they tend to vary in format and structure. The main impetus for their development is the production of a useful business management tool for the specific enterprise.
Some veterinarians in this field use specific EVR systems-especially those that also offer companion animal services. However, the systems for companion animals are best at recording individual animal records. Many records from farming systems pertain to multiple animals; consequently, the use of individual animal EVRs are not appropriate for recording animal health details. Developments toward tighter regulations for prescribing antibiotics and other restricted pharmaceuticals for use in food producing animals are promoting the modification of EVR systems to allow recording of individual animal (or pen) treatment information. These systems often allow the recording of information on the clinical condition present within the individual (or pen) as evidence to support the decision to administer medication.
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