Dairy Education Center

Dairy Production Medicine Curriculum

The goal of this program is to train future dairy veterinarians in production medicine, as a necessary supplement to the traditional medicine approach that has been the focus of most veterinary curricula. Production medicine is the application of a wide array of knowledge and skills to dairy herd management with the aim of optimizing animal health and welfare, production, and profitability on the dairy. Dairy veterinarians must utilize this wide variety of knowledge and skills to best serve their dairy clients in a constantly changing dairy economy. Simply diagnosing pregnancy, performing surgeries and treating sick cows will not be enough to maintain the veterinarian's role on the dairies of tomorrow.  To that end, this program aims to increase the proficiency and confidence of veterinary students to serve the dairy industry at a higher level, by focusing on topics such as:

  • preventive medicine and disease control
  • reproductive programs
  • animal husbandry
  • nutrition
  • mastitis and milking system evaluation
  • epidemiology
  • lameness prevention and treatment
  • food safety
  • human resource management
  • dairy records analysis  
  • economic decision-making
  • transition cow management
  • housing and facilities evaluation
  • communication and leadership skills 

The rotation consists of lectures, wet-labs and other hands-on activities on the dairy, online learning, student projects, dairy herd visits and other field trips. Most weeks, students will spend 2-3 days in lecture and labs learning about a topic, and then will conduct an evaluation of an actual dairy herd, prepare and present recommendations for improving the herd’s performance and profitability. Some weeks, instead of evaluating a dairy herd, students will have intensive workshops on a particular topic, such as Food Armor training. Although this is not a clinical rotation, students will have opportunities to practice skills on the dairy during wet-labs focusing on heat detection and artificial insemination, milking system evaluation, fresh cow monitoring, feedstuffs evaluation, and more. Students may also occasionally perform necropsies, DA surgeries, or palpate cows as time and opportunity allows, but this is not a focus of this course.