dairy transition cow
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Transition Cow Health

Cows that Thrive During Transition Perform Better During Lactation

Transition cows may be at risk for:

  • Clinical or subclinical hypocalcemia (milk fever) – Low blood calcium
  • Displaced abomasum – Rotation of the abomasum out of its normal position, potentially leading to obstruction and compromised blood supply
  • Fatty-liver syndrome – Excessive accumulation of fat in the liver
  • Ketosis – High blood concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids and ketone bodies, as well as low concentrations of glucose, leading to anorexia and depression
  • Mastitis – Inflammation of the mammary glands
  • Metritis – Inflammation of the uterus after calving
  • Retained placenta – Failure of the calf’s side of the placenta, or fetal membranes, to separate from the mother’s side

Poor transition to lactation can also lead to a loss of up to 4,000 pounds of unrealized milk yield per cow per lactation.1

Help Your Cows Make a Smooth Transition 

Cows that successfully manage the transition are less likely to experience post-calving disorders, and more apt to achieve higher milk production and better reproductive performance. Work with your veterinarian to create transition-cow protocols, which may include:

Before calving

  • Help prevent mastitis with a dry cow therapy program:
    • Intramammary therapy
    • Teat sealant
    • Vaccination against coliform mastitis
  • Vaccinate cows against reproductive diseases to help protect the pregnancy
  • Work with your nutritionist to provide optimum levels of protein, vitamins and minerals to cows, especially during the two to three weeks before calving
  • Cow comfort: Provide clean, dry stalls, facilities, adequate bunk space and less than 85% stocking density
  • Minimize pen changes and provide heat abatement
  • Monitor urine pH as calving nears if feeding a dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) diet

At calving

  • With your veterinarian’s input, design and train your employees on proper calving protocols
  • Provide cows with a clean, comfortable and stress-free calving environment during and after calving
  • Offer high-quality forage and feed additives as needed
  • Administer calcium supplementation if required 

After calving

  • Observe fresh cows closely for signs of disease, especially in the first two weeks of lactation
  • Monitor blood calcium and ketone levels
  • Monitor body-condition scores and milk production
  • Identify and treat problems early for best results

Important Safety Information

DRY-CLOX RESIDUE WARNINGS: For use in dry cows only. Not to be used within 30 days of calving. Any animal infused with this product must not be slaughtered for food until 30 days after the latest infusion. Precautions: Because it is a derivative of 6-aminopenicillanic acid, DRY-CLOX has the potential for producing allergic reactions. Such reactions are rare; however, should they occur, the subject should be treated with antihistamines or pressor amines, such as epinephrine.

LOCKOUT WITHDRAWAL INFORMATION: LOCKOUT requires no milk or pre-slaughter withdrawal when used alone. If dry cow treatment is used in conjunction with LOCKOUT, follow recommended antibiotic withdrawal times per the label.

ToMORROW RESIDUE WARNINGS: For use in dry cows only. Not to be used within 30 days of calving. Milk from treated cows must not be used for food during the first 72 hours after calving. Any animal infused with this product must not be slaughtered for food until 42 days after the latest infusion.

Transition Cow Education and Resources

Transition Cow Management Holds the Key to Successful Lactation

There’s a lot that can go wrong during the transition phase. Follow these tips for before, at and post calving to help your cows make a successful transition.

Four Ways to Help Heifers Transition into Motherhood

Calving is a stressful time for all cattle, but especially for heifers. Follow these key management practices to make the transition into motherhood as smooth as possible.

Dairy cow

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1 Wankhade P, Manimaran A, Kumaresan A, et al. Metabolic and immunological changes in transition dairy cows: A review. Vet World 2017;10(11):1367–1377.


DRY-CLOX®, J-VAC®, LOCKOUT®, ToMORROW® and TRIANGLE® are registered trademarks of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. BOVIKALC® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, used under license. ©2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., Duluth, GA. All Rights Reserved. US-BOV-0618-2021