New testing requirements for dairy cows before events

Publish Date

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announces new testing requirements for lactating dairy cows effective Tuesday, June 18. All lactating (currently producing milk) dairy cows must have both a negative H5N1 test result and Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) to attend any exhibition in Minnesota. The requirements are effective until December 31, 2024.

“While H5N1 influenza in dairy cases are still being studied across the country, initial insights show milk and the udders are a hotspot for influenza virus on infected cows, which makes showing lactating dairy at events a higher risk” said Senior Veterinarian of Cattle Programs, Dr. Katie Cornille. “Requiring a negative test before an exhibition reduces that risk.”

A veterinarian must oversee or collect samples from each animal traveling to the exhibition within seven days before arriving at the event. Samples must be sent to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network Laboratory like the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) in St. Paul. Once a negative result is received for an animal, it can move within Minnesota for 10 days from the sample collection date to locations specified on the CVI.

If samples are positive for influenza, the VDL will notify the Board of the results and the Board will contact the producer to quarantine the cows and begin a disease investigation. While this is happening the samples are forwarded to the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories for official confirmation, which is necessary for the owner to apply for any federal financial reimbursement. All results are confidential, and the Board will only report the county where a case is detected. Lactating dairy cows on the premises are under a 30-day quarantine. The Board can release the quarantine after a minimum of 30 days and a negative H5N1 milk test.

Livestock owners can find additional biosecurity recommendations for attending exhibitions on the USDA’s website. The Board has recommendations available for exhibition managers to prevent H5N1 in livestock. You can review the full copy of the testing requirement on the Board’s website.

*Editor’s note on H5N1 terminology: detections of the virus in non-poultry species should not be called, “bird flu,” instead the virus strain and species are used, “H5N1 in dairy.”