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Drug Usage and Storage

It is critically important that members are aware of proper protocols regarding the medical treatment of their animals. Here are some guidelines to help and be sure to contact your field representative regarding recommended treatment protocol.

Use the right drugs in the right way.

  • Whether over-the-counter, prescription or extralabel drugs, the drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use with dairy cattle.
  • Follow the label. It is illegal to use a drug in a way not specified on the label unless advised to do so by a veterinarian.
  • Drugs labeled for intramuscular use should only be injected intramuscularly, not intramammary.

Milk treated cows last.

  • Remove the swing pipe from the bulk tank before milking treated animals or when using a fresh bucket.

Monitor buckets of milk from treated cows so they don't overfill and send milk into the pipeline.


Carefully wash all milking equipment after milking a treated cow.

  • Because drugs contain an oil base, wash all equipment before using it again.

Establish a good relationship with your veterinarian.

  • An ongoing relationship with your veterinarian helps proper drug usage.
  • Understand how the vet has treated an animal and the implications for your milking routine.
  • Clear, regular communication is key.

Discard milk from all four quarters, even if you only treat one quarter.


Test all milk from treated, fresh and newly purchased cows.

  • Do this before milking the animal for the first time.
  • Separate dry cows from your milking herd.
  • Identify dry cows with leg bands, hock markers, paint sticks or ear tags.

Sample the milk from cows and first-calf heifers that have been fed antibiotic feed.

  • Know the name of the drug(s) contained in the feed.

Educate your help.

  • Be sure all workers know how important it is to keep milk from treated cows out of the bulk tank.
  • Only people you can trust to carefully follow instructions should be responsible for milking, medicating or other tasks that could influence the presence of residues in your milk.

Put one person in charge of treating cows.

  • There will be less confusion among barn personnel as to which cows were treated with what drugs.

Identify treated cows.

  • Use leg bands, hock markers, neck straps, cords, chains, paint sticks or ear tags.
  • Use a second tag or marker as a backup in case the first one is not seen or becomes lost.
  • Make sure all workers involved in milking understand what the tag or marker means.

Purchase a test kit for your farm or send samples to the plant lab.

  • When sending samples to the lab, indicate the drug name on the sample vial.
  • Use the bright orange label (below) for special samples. Labels are available at all Foremost Farms plants.