The Cow Vets Workout

Being physically fit is a great asset for a cattle veterinarian. This job entails a lot of physical work and often it can be taxing. Taking the time to work out can not only help you do the job better by being faster and stronger, but can help prevent injuries.


Because it’s hard to work when you’re trying to keep that Band-aid on. It just keeps slipping, which is annoying!

So what constitutes a good workout for a cow vet? Obviously the basics of strength training, cardio and agility are important, but there’s a few added exercises that help for specific situations. For example:

Fingertip pull ups. Sounds extremely difficult, right? And yes they are! They are like an ironman competition that just your triceps and chest get to participate in while the rest of your body just lazily hangs out, eating potato chips. On the other hand, when you are trying to turn a calf’s head in utero and all you can do is just barely get the end of jaw with one fingertip, that extra strength is pretty handy.

Carolyn pullups

The square bar means the pressure is on your fingers, not your palms. Get-it girl!

Loaded vertical leaps. Now I realize that working on jumping higher is a normal part of a workout routine. But being able to jump over an angry charging cow while in full winter apparel is a new level of athleticism. So it’s best to practice the same way, jumping up and down while wearing coveralls. Nobody passing by would find this weird at all.


Look at that air she’s getting! That ought to keep her from being stampeded by a raging bottle calf!

Drawing a bow. What, why is this a vet workout? No, it’s not because we need to use an arrow on a cow, but that motion is very similar to the one we do while preg checking, where we push our left arm into the cow’s rectum while pulling back on the tail. This doesn’t take a ton of strength, but doing this repeatedly for hundreds of cows can get pretty darn tiring. Building up that strength through shooting a bow can help make preg checking a bit less tiring.

Squeezing a stress ball. Not because we’re just so stressed out all the time, but because that squeezing action is the same one we use all day when we run syringe guns and pour-on guns for vaccinating and deworming cattle. Just like the bow workout, it’s the same action over and over again so building strength helps. So does actually doing the activity tens of thousands of times per year as well, I guess, but hey, gotta work out man!

While not an extensive list, by the time I’m done doing these things I’m too tired to do anything else. And that’s about the time somebody calls with an OB to do. But hey, at least we should be prepared!