Down Cow SOP

ANIMART's taken a proactive approach at answering dairy farmer's questions about the proper ways to handle down cows.

Dr. Mike Costin, ANIMART Professional Services Veterinarian, authored a comprehensive Down Cow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for veterinarians to use as a template for customizing to your farm.

For an example of the Down Cow SOP, Click Here.

For a Spanish version, Click here

Dr. Costin's SOP discusses the five M's for assessing the situation of a down cow:

  1. Metabolic - Is the cow recently fresh? If so, she is a prime candidate for a fresh cow metabolic disorder that could have caused her to go down. These disorders include Milk Fever, Hypophosphatemia and Ketosis.
  2. Metritis - Is the cow recently fresh? Fresh cows can develop a uterine infection post calving that can progress to a severity that will cause a cow to become recumbent.
  3. Mastitis - Cows at any stage of lactation may contract a bacterial mastitis that can progress to her becoming recumbent.
  4. Massive Peritonitis - Cows at any stage of lactation may develop an infection in their peritoneal cavity. This is usually associated with uterine trauma following a difficult calving or post abdominal surgery, but can also occur at any time due to a perforated gastric ulcer or case of hardware disease.
  5. Musculoskeletal Injury - There are many different causes of these including a cow doing the splits on concrete and a cow in heat jumping onto another cow causing an injury.

In addition to the five M's, the SOP discusses proper use of equipment, humane euthanasia and the keys to establishing a "Down Cow Team."

The members on this team are to be chosen because of their commitment, intelligence and compassion to the industry, farm and animals. A team leader should be established that can be a descision maker on the farm.

Click here for tips on how to successfully implement the Down Cow SOP.

*ANIMART's Down Cow SOP Example is a resource for farms that may implement Down Cow Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for their operations. The materials contained in this Example are intended to provide farms with guidance as the farms establish their own Down Cow SOP, and are not intended to be the final SOP for any specific farm. Each farm facility and "off-the-shelf policies" that have not been tailored to the particular facility are not considered to be compliant.