Are there ‘weak links’ in your fresh cow treatment program?

Gary Neubauer Zoetis
Farm Forum

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Is it possible there are “weak links” in your fresh cow treatment protocols that could set your dairy up for vulnerabilities, either for antibiotic residues or lack of efficacy?

You can decrease your risk of residues and cost of treatment by improving your fresh cow program in three key areas: identifying and treating sick cows, implementing treatment protocols, and drug use, storage and handling.

Here are some questions to help identify and strengthen potential weak links in your fresh cow treatment program.

Identifying and treating sick cows

• Who on the dairy is responsible for symptom identification?

• How are employees trained to identify symptoms?

• When was the last time these employees received training?

Implementing treatment protocols

• How often are protocols reviewed and revised with your veterinarian? When was the last time you reviewed treatment protocols with your fresh pen team?

• How are employees trained on treatment protocols? When was the last time employees received training?

• How do you make sure antibiotic doses are administered according to the label for the animal’s actual weight?

Drug use, storage and handling

• When was the last time you reviewed on-farm health records with your veterinarian to determine the success level of each treatment?

• If you asked your employees right now, would they know the label withdrawals for milk and meat?

• How often do you review your drug inventory and compare it with the known disease challenges on your dairy?

A single residue violation can erode consumer confidence. Work with your veterinarian to evaluate the antibiotics and treatment protocols used on your dairy.

Evaluate antibiotics based on:

• Food and Drug Administration approval for on-label treatment of fresh cow diseases, like metritis

• Low residue profile

• Demonstrated efficacy