Our Health Protocol

  1. BEFORE YOU BUY: Take a tail bleed in a red top tube. Send this to UBRL and have it tested for BVD, BLV, Johne’s, Brucellosis and Q fever. Have the vet do a TB test (you can’t do this yourself). IF she is fresh I do a cowside SCC, in 5 minutes you can have the results and will tell you if she carries a lot of NON milk substances in her milk. It does NOT tell you what they are. You can often catch a low lying staph a infection with this test. Then if in milk send to API for a 16 panel mastitis test. This is looking for DNA not growing out in mediums. More accurate and often can tell if staph a, strep or e. coli is in the milk but not expressing as mastitis (which it may or may not do later but the cow is still contagious, can be very or a little) Also check for a BANGS tag in her ear, that means she has been vaccinated for brucellosis and it is often required by your vet.
  2. Every time your cow freshens: We do another tail bleed and send in and a 16 way. This is necessary to follow a cow that may be developing a disease. So, let’s say you do a titer (test) for Q fever and your cow is 10. The next year she is 45. You know then you have a problem and she is infected. While she may have been exposed and early on her first test, she is positive on her second and she will infect your other cattle. She may be the problem or another cow may be. That is why you do a baseline; and then repeat every year for 5 years, after that time it is only necessary if you get a cow that is infected in your herd. The blood tests can give you a heads up on Johne’s, but she will not develop the disease until she is about 5. You still want to cull her though.
  3. Remember that it is almost always milking equipment that contaminates your cow. Only move a cow up in line once you get her results back. A just fresh cow gets milked last until her results come back.
  4. anyone that absolutely refuses to do a blood test or milk test, look somewhere else. The really bad one is that the government is no longer regulating cattle brokers, so an entire new market has opened up for new people in selling “family milk cows”. While many of these are exactly what they are represented as: I have found a growing number of people that have a deal with a dairy, almost always Jersey dairies, and sell them all the heifers calves they don’t want, or cows coming 5, swinging udder cows or low production cows. There is an up to now unsuccessful staph a vaccine, so don’t buy that. I put new cows in quarantine; and then test again when I get them home. This has saved me thousands when so called tested cows come back positive when I test them. I have too much invested in my cows to not test.