Dairy Education Center

Veterinary Student Education

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With more than 4,500 adult cows housed on-site, the Dairy Education Center offers the unique opportunity for students to practice clinical medicine and gain experience in the day-to-day management activities of a large dairy. In clinical rotations, students are exposed to a high case load of the common transition diseases, such as metritis, milk fever, mastitis, displaced abomasum, and lameness, allowing them to develop or improve skills in physical exam, palpation, diagnosis, therapy, surgery and case management. In addition, the dairy is a complex laboratory for learning about reproductive management, nutrition and feeding programs, milk quality, housing and welfare. 

Senior veterinary students who are interested in dairy practice may elect to spend one or more rotations at the Dairy Education Center. The rotations currently taught are described below.

Dairy On-Farm Clinical (DOFC): 2 weeks
Students participate in the daily screening and physical examination of recently fresh cows, identify and treat sick cows, perform surgeries and necropsies. In addition, students may participate in ongoing health monitoring programs, such as calf serum total protein or dry cow urine pH monitoring. In the afternoons, students and faculty engage in discussions on relevant dairy cow medicine topics. Students live at the facility during this rotation so they are available at all hours to participate in clinical care, follow up on cases, and respond to emergencies.  

Bovine Theriogenology & Lameness (BT&L): 2 weeks
Students will be taught topics related to diagnostics, treatment and management of reproductive and foot diseases of dairy cows, topics related to reproductive and lameness management of bovine herds, and on-farm data analysis related to reproductive and health performance. Part of the time will be spent at Davis Family Dairies working on herd reproductive practices and performing herd checks.  While the other part will include hoof trimming on cadaver feet with hand/power tools and on live cows at the University of MN dairy on the St. Paul campus.  

Dairy Production Medicine (DPM)
The DPM curriculum is a total of 8 weeks, held on-site at the Dairy Education Center. For more information, visit the National Center of Excellence in Dairy Veterinary Medicine. 

Prospective Students
Senior veterinary students from other universities who are interested in participating in a rotation at the Dairy Education Center should email dairyvet@umn.edu for available program dates and application information.

Current Students
Detailed information about course logistics and online course materials can be found in the Moodle course site specific to each rotation.