About Dairy Wellness

Cull cows pose unique Salmonella risk
Posted by Gary Neubauer

Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illness, and a leading cause of both hospitalization and deaths in this country.1 Each year, Salmonella causes just over 1 million illnesses and 378 deaths.2 This is a serious problem for everyone involved in the food chain, including dairy producers.

Studies have looked at Salmonella infections in change to market dairy cows and the risk to contamination of ground beef.3 Research from West Texas A&M University led by Guy Loneragan, Ph.D., showed a high prevalence of Salmonella in change to market dairy cows. In the study, fecal samples were collected from 706 change to market dairy cows sourced from nine dairies in the Texas High Plains. Salmonella was recovered from 32.6 percent of the cows.4

What can be done to help reduce the risk of Salmonella contamination in ground beef? Work with your veterinarian to develop a Salmonella prevention plan for your dairy.

  • Determine your risk of a Salmonella outbreak.
  • Close access points where Salmonella could enter your herd.
  • Review high-risk areas where Salmonella could spread.
  • Discuss a vaccination protocol using SRP® Salmonella.

The Texas field study showed that dairies practicing whole-herd vaccination against Salmonella Newport had a lower prevalence than herds that did not vaccinate.3 Whole-herd vaccination helps reduce fecal shedding of Salmonella Newport and allows producers to create whole-herd immunity helping to protect all cattle on the operation.

You have a significant role to play in the safety of all food products, including meat, originating from your dairy operation. Don’t wait until you have a clinical Salmonella problem in your herd to address this important issue with your veterinarian.


*This product license is conditional. Efficacy and potency test studies are in progress.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Reports 1 in 6 Get Sick from Foodborne Illness Each Year. Available at: Accessed April 10, 2013.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illnesses in the United States. Available at: Accessed July 2, 2013. 

3 Arthur TM, Brichta-Harhay DM, Bosilevac JM, et al. Prevalence and characterization of Salmonella in bovine lymph nodes potentially destined for use in ground beef. J Food Prot 2008; 71:8:1685-1688.

4 Loneragan GH, Matthews LR, Daniels A, et al. Salmonella in Cull Dairy Cattle of the Texas High Plains, in Proceedings. 89th Annu Meet of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, December 7-9, 2008, Chicago, Illinois.

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