Down Cow SOPs Examples Now Available

February 27, 2014 10:16 AM

Source: ANIMART and Dairy Business Association

With the recent release of the Mercy for Animals video, dairy farmers across the country have been asking, "What is the best way to handle down cows?" The Dairy Business Association of Wisconsin and ANIMART, Inc. have teamed up and have been proactively answering this question. Both organizations are getting essential down cow management information out to farmers; something no one else in the industry has done.

To view the ANIMART Down Cow Standard Operation Procedures, please click here.

At the Dairy Business Association's Access Symposium on February 19 at Lambeau Field, the day's topics highlighted the importance of down cow management and crisis situations.

The most anticipated presentation of the day was that of Dr. Mike Costin of ANIMART. He discussed his experiences in developing a balanced approach to handling down cows.
Because of down cow challenges farmers face, there is a great need for standard operating procedures that are practical and meet animal handling standards.

As Dr. Costin says, "In today's modern dairy facilities, 'down cows' are a fact of life. Many reasons can cause a cow to go down ranging from disease and injury, to a simple slip on the concrete. Simply stated, there is no easy way to handle a down cow or this situation. Adding to the challenge is many outside entities are increasing focus on how you address this challenge."

Dr. Costin and ANIMART have developed a down cow "Standard Operating Procedures" document to share with the dairy industry. The SOP discusses five areas for effective handling of a down cow, which are: 1.) Moving a Down Cow Using a Sled; 2.) Moving a Down Cow by Means of Mechanical Conveyance; 3.) Moving a Down Cow out of the Parlor; 4.) Moving a Down Cow out of the Return Alley; and 5.) Moving a Down Cow Out of a Stall (Cow Facing Forward). The SOP also discusses keys to establishing a down cow team and humane euthanasia.

ANIMART invested over 500 man hours in the development and discussion of this SOP for the benefit of the dairy industry.

"We believe in working together as an Industry to empower producers is the best approach; and to this end we have made an example of Dr. Costin's Down Cow SOP available to the public through the Dairy Business Association," commented Dan Ellsworth, President of ANIMART. "In addition, we are providing this so other veterinarians may use it as a guideline to set up farm specific SOPs for their clients with or without our direct involvement."

Laurie Fischer, the Dairy Business Association Executive Director, added, "With recent events, so many dairy producers were concerned about the absolute best ways on how to handle down and sick cattle. I am so pleased that our industry now has a protocol that can be used by dairy producers from around the county."

Editor’s Note: Read Dairy Today editor’s blog on the SOPs here

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