What Happens When a Dairy Cow Gets Sick?

  • Article
  • 1 min read December 5, 2013

When we’re feeling under the weather, we may make a cup of tea, heat up some chicken soup and grab a blanket. But what happens on a farm when a dairy cow gets sick?

Farmers work with veterinarians to take preventative measures, such as vaccinations, to make sure their cows are as comfortable and healthy as possible. That said, sometimes a cow may get sick. Dairy farmers are committed to following a process that not only helps the cow get better; it also ensures that the sick cow’s milk doesn’t leave the farm.

It all starts on the dairy, where farmers carefully watch their cows every day to make sure they stay healthy. Since they watch them so closely, farmers can tell right away if a cow isn’t feeling well. Sometimes when a cow is sick, she will receive antibiotics -- similar to how we may take antibiotics when we’re not feeling well.

Farmers take a number of precautions to make sure you don’t receive milk from cows who are currently receiving antibiotics. While cows that are receiving antibiotics are still milked, that milk doesn’t leave the dairy. Once the cow has made a full recovery, and her milk is tested to be sure it is clear of antibiotics, she returns to her regular place in the milking herd.

The U.S. dairy industry and dairy farmers have a process in place to make sure your milk is safe. Plus, the FDA requires all milk to be tested for commonly used antibiotics when it arrives at a dairy plant. Any milk that tests positive is rejected and not sold.

We all want to make the best choices for us and our families. To learn more about the dairy industry’s commitment to healthy cows and safe milk, continue to check back at Dairy Good.