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- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.