Whenever you hear about cows and medicine the first thing you might think about are antibiotics. However, you might be surprised to find that a cow’s medicine cabinet is not much different than yours.
Before we reach for any medicine, we try the simplest things first. Rest and TLC are often the best choice for us and the cow, and go hand in hand with most every treatment. While we don’t have a cow couch and Netflix for the herd, we often separate a cow out so she can walk less, lay more, and not have to compete for feed.
You probably have several over the counter medicines at your house. We keep similar ones for the herd. When a cow becomes ill, more often than not, one of three pills usually solves the problem.
Do cows get headaches? I don’t know for sure, but if they are sore, or in pain, I know that I can give them the white pill, which is aspirin. Simple and effective, it can make a cow feel better by easing her pain or lowering a fever.
Stomach problems are the next common illness cows might have. The brown pill is for diarrhea, and the pink is for gas or constipation. No one likes a stomachache, not even a cow.
These pills are affordable and don’t require us to discard a cow’s milk. That savings is twofold compared to if she required antibiotics to heal an infection. Most people don’t want to take strong medicines any more than they have to, and we feel the same about our cows. There are a few antibiotics still available without a prescription for dairy cattle, but we only use them when they are necessary because not every malady calls for them. If these steps don’t work, we do for the cows just like you do for yourself; we call a doctor for help.
Now, if we could only encourage the cows to primp a little less when they’re fixing their hair in the morning standing at that mirror then we’d get a lot more done on the farm.