Programs for maintaining healthy dairy herds in the United States


  • Jack H. Britt Department of Animal Science, Box 7621, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621
  • Jenks S. Britt Logan County Animal Clinic, Russellville, KY 42276



herd management, cattle disease, environment, feeding, nutrition, vaccination, production


Healthy dairy cows produce more milk, have better reproductive rates and are more profitable than unhealthy herdmates. The majority of health problems in dairy herds in the United States can be prevented by proper management. Those that cannot be prevented can be reduced in severity by good herd health programs.

Maintaining healthy herds starts with providing a good environment for all cattle in the herd including replacement heifers and dry cows. The health status is also dependent on the feeding program, because poor nutrition leads to poor health. The herd health program should include a vaccination policy specifically designed for each herd. It should also include a regular examination or inspection of all animals and facilities of the herd as well as an evaluation of management practices in the herd.

Effective herd health programs in the United States are characterized by careful monitoring of several aspects of herd performance including level of production, milk quality, incidence of mastitis and other common infections, performances and thriftiness of replacement stock, heat detection and conception rates, function of milking equipment, formulation of the rations, care of housing and free stalls, etc. The effective herd veterinarian is concerned with all aspects of health management that contribute to a profitable dairy herd.




How to Cite

Britt, J. H., & Britt, J. S. (1986). Programs for maintaining healthy dairy herds in the United States. The Bovine Practitioner, (21), 10–12.