News & Advice

When to use Anti-inflammatories 

Jun 3, 2021 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare

Sacha Pyke, veterinarian, Anexa Vets

The start of the new dairy season means it is time to get a new script for your farm at your RVM (restricted veterinary medicine)  consult with your vet. One type of medicine that are often prescribed for use on farms are really useful in a range of circumstances are anti-inflammatory drugs.


What do they do? 
  • Provide pain relief
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce fevers
  • Get your cows eating and producing again quicker


What anti-inflammatories are available?

At Anexa we have two main types available

  • Ketoprophen (e.g. Ketomax, Key, Ketofen): Lasts for 24 hours, no milk withhold, given intramuscularly
  • Meloxicam (e.g.Metacam): Lasts for up to 72 hours (long acting), milk withhold of 84 hours, given UNDER the SKIN or into the vein


What situations are anti-inflammatories beneficial?

They are useful in any situation where you feel a cow may experience pain or inflammation but some more specific examples are below. It is very important you have identified the specific problem before any treatment is undertaken. If in doubt call your vet. 


Down Cows

Most down cows will benefit from an anti-inflammatory. Things you should always check for at the time of administration.

  • Broken leg or dislocated hip > if you even suspect this call your vet
  • Metabolic disease > ensure metabolic needs are treated at the same time
  • Mastitis or other infection > always check for other infection, if you are unsure call your vet.



Any cow that requires assistance with calving or that is down at calving would benefit from an anti-inflammatory.  This will help with a faster recovery. 

You should however always call your vet if:

  • There is a large amount of blood
  • You suspect the uterus has torn


Lame Cows

If a cow is lame it is evidence that she is painful. If you’re suspicious she has a broken leg or dislocated hip get your vet immediately. If not, lift the foot and identify and treat the problem appropriately. All lame cows will also benefit from an anti-inflammatory as this will help reduce pain and swelling. Ketoprophen products are great for this as they don’t have a milk withhold on them. 



Mastitis is a very painful condition. Any cow with mastitis receiving antibiotic therapy will benefit from receiving a long-acting anti-inflammatory (e.g. Metacam). Treating with antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory at the same time can:

  • Help reduce SCC
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Improve cure rates
  • Get the milk back in the vat faster

Contact your vet or discuss at RVM to get these amazing products on your script.