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HPAI in Dairy Cattle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) confirmed a detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in dairy cows in Northeast Colorado on April 25, 2024. USDA has also confirmed detections in premises in multiple states. 

Symptoms in dairy cows include low appetite, decreased milk production and abnormal colostrum-like milk.

For more information about infections in livestock and for additional resources, please visit the USDA website


Information for consumers

USDA and FDA have stated that because commercial milk products are pasteurized before entering the market, at this time there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply. 

Pasteurized milk does not pose a risk to consumer health. Pasteurization has continuously proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses in milk.

Despite the detection of HPAI in dairy cattle, the risk to the general public remains low, per CDC. More information is available on CDC’s website regarding the H5N1 Bird Flu Current Situation.

Information for veterinarians 

Colorado veterinarians must report cattle illness that presents clinical signs of HPAI to the State Veterinarian’s office at (303)-869-9130, via the Reportable Disease Case Report Form, or to their local Veterinary Medical Officer

Reportable Disease Case Report Form

Veterinarians can request HPAI testing for samples that meet the criteria. 

Please contact the State Veterinarian’s office to receive guidance for sample collection and how to submit your sample. Samples will not be processed without contacting us first.

Contact us at 303-869-9130 or

Colorado Cases of HPAI in Dairy Cattle

Information for producers


Biosecurity resources for livestock owners

Colorado Response to Avian InfluenzaThe Secure Milk Supply website offers comprehensive materials on dairy biosecurity practices, including posters and information sheets in English and Spanish.

Additional biosecurity resources can be found at the following links:

HPAI Public Town Hall

CDA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment hosted a joint virtual Town Hall meeting to provide updates on the status of avian influenza in Colorado, discuss the pre-testing requirements for dairy cattle, and answer questions about the situation in Colorado.

USDA Federal Order


Federal Order

In order to continue to monitor and understand the extent of this virus and reduce the risk of further disseminating HPAI H5N1 virus, resulting in greater threats to poultry and livestock, the USDA issued a Federal Order requiring the following measures, effective Monday, April 29, 2024.

Additionally, the APHIS Requirements and Guidance for the Federal Order help clarify the USDA requirements.

The Colorado State Veterinarian's Office put together a brief memo on the Federal Order.

Pre-movement Testing

Sample Collection and Submission Protocol for Non-Clinical Lactating Dairy Cattle

Who: Accredited Veterinarian, Licensed Veterinarian, or sample collector approved by State Veterinarian (in process)

When: Collected within 7 days of movement

Number: if moving groups of animals:  30 or fewer - all animals must be tested; if more than 30 - only test 30

Samples: milk from individual cows - pool milk from each quarter into one sample - 3-10 ml total per animal (do not pool animals together)

Submit to: NAHLN lab - CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Fort Collins lab is conducting testing; branch labs will forward samples.

Results: Include lactation status and test results on CVI


USDA Support for Producers


To help producers enhance their biosecurity practices, USDA is offering additional support for producers who have HPAI confirmed positive dairy herds so they have tools to eliminate the virus and can protect their animals, themselves, their families, and their employees.

Dairy producers with premises that have been confirmed positive for HPAI are eligible for USDA support to conduct activities that best fit their operations. 

Producers will work with USDA personnel to develop a plan for their premises—detailing planned testing and movement, biosecurity practices and other planned activities. 

Learn more about USDA's Support for Producers with Affected Dairy Premises.

USDA Support for Producers

The USDA can help producers with:

  • PPE and/or laundering
  • Biosecurity planning and implementation
  • Heat treatment for waste milk
  • Veterinarian costs
  • Shipping costs for samples