LOGAN – Avian Influenza, or bird flu, is deadly in chickens and some other birds but according to the latest news from Utah State University, the same is not true in cows.

Tom Baldwin, Director of USU’s Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, said the virus does not kill dairy cows and is not an infectious disease that would force the USDA to direct mandatory slaughter. Pasteurized milk and properly cooked meat are also safe.

Cows that contract bird flu have a sharp drop in milk production. Dairies that suspect their cows have the virus should move the sick cows to a hospital pen, then call a veterinarian.

A chicken owner who finds a single dead bird, but has no other birds that die shortly after, is assured bird flu was not the cause. A farmer who finds 20 dead birds in one day will know that’s avian flu said Baldwin. He said the number of avian flu infections will diminish through the summer because the virus doesn’t thrive in warmer temperatures.

Last month the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandated testing for dairy cows within seven days of being transported across state lines.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) has information online about bird flu in cattle and poultry, including instructions about testing animals. A statement issued by Utah’s Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Price says dairies that suspect cows may have the virus should move sick animals to a hospital pen and immediately contact their veterinarian.

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