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Spring Cleaning: Vet Cupboard Edition

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
March 15, 2017        
Source:  Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator-Livestock
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Spring Cleaning: Vet Cupboard Edition
By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (03/15/17) — It seems like the weather lately is having a tough time deciding, but spring is just arriving (on March 20, to be exact).  That gets me thinking about everybody’s favorite task—spring cleaning.  Have you considered giving your vet cupboard a spring cleaning?  It’s important to keep veterinary supplies clean, organized, and up to date; and going through the cupboard now can save time when the busiest part of the spring season rolls around.

First, look at vaccines and syringes.  Toss out vaccines that are expired, have illegible labels, or bottles with compromised stoppers.  If a stopper is damaged from overuse or something else, there is a possibility the vaccine could be contaminated.  When cleaning syringes, avoid soaps and disinfectants as they inactivate modified live vaccines.  The best method for cleaning is filling the syringes with boiling water.  After they are dry, store in a zip-lock bag and keep them in a safe place.  Also consider labeling your syringes for use to avoid cross-contamination between killed and modified live vaccines.

Next, consider additional medications to have on hand.  You may want to have epinephrine in case an animal has a reaction to a vaccine.  Antibiotics should also be on hand.  As always, consult with your veterinarian about your herd’s medications.

I already discussed cleaning your syringes, but think about cleaning other equipment.  Clean ear taggers, dehorners, calving equipment, and other tools.  In addition to cleaning, take the time to organize and inventory these items, and group them by use, such as calving and weaning.  Look at items you are storing, such as pour-ons, dewormers, and disinfectants for their storage requirements.  Consider if any of these products have been exposed to harsh light or temperatures, and how long you’ve had them for.

While your mind is on veterinary care, take some time to review your herd health plan.  Look at your current plan and whether you see any needs that aren’t being met.  Consult with your veterinarian about possible changes.  Also, make sure you are maintaining a vet log of vaccines, vet care, calvings, and other health events.  Lastly, take a look at the fridge.  The vet fridge is typically an old one that was in the kitchen before moving to the barn.  Sometimes, as they age, fridges can have trouble maintaining temperature so it’s important to check that to ensure medicines are being stored at the temperature on their labels.

Keeping veterinary supplies clean, organized, and up to date can save time and even money in the future, so it’s important to take some time before busy season to get on top of it.


Emily Wilmes
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems - Livestock
(320) 255-6169
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