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Caring for a Senior Cow

January 15 2021

Do you have a n older cow? Just like any other animal, cows experience physical changes as they age. They get slower and weaker, and their needs change a bit. A Westminster, MD vet offers a few tips on caring for Bessie in her golden years below.


Just like any other animal, Bessie will need good food, fresh water, and proper veterinary care to thrive. Your bovine buddy will also need a clean, comfortable living space. A good stall in a barn is ideal, but you can also use a three-sided shelter. It’s not a bad idea to put some extra bedding down, to keep your cow more comfortable. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Steep inclines and bumpy ground are hard for older animals to navigate. Try to keep Bessie on even ground. In winter, use sand or pet-safe deicing agents to provide good traction and help prevent slips. You’ll also want to watch for signs or arthritis, such as limping or swollen joints. Ask your vet for more information.

Dental Care

Cows spend a lot of time chewing, which really takes a toll on their teeth. By the time she is a senior, Bessie may have developed issues such as lost or broken teeth, gum disease, abscesses, or misalignments. This can make chewing difficult, which in turn can make it hard for cows to maintain their body condition and overall general health. Have your cow’s teeth examined regularly. If she develops dental issues, you may need to chop her hay or soak hay pellets and beet pulp in water for her. Ask your vet for more information.

Weight Management

It’s proba bly no surprise to find that many older cows are quite obese. This can lead to some dangerous health problems, such as heart disease and bone/joint issues. On the other hand, some cows become too thin. This sometimes happens because they have to compete for food, and get bullied by younger herdmates. If you have a livestock scale, weigh Bessie regularly. Otherwise, monitor her weight just by inspecting her regularly.

Buddie  s

Cows are social animals, and get lonely without any pals. However, older cows sometimes get bullied. If you have more than one older cow, keep the seniors together. Otherwise, give Bessie a buddy to keep her company.

Please contact us, your Westminster, MD veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!