Major Uses

Bovine somatotropin is a protein hormone that is naturally produced inside the pituitary glands of cattle. Recombinant bovine somatotropin is a genetically engineered hormone used in cows to boost short-term milk output. It is developed from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria.

The primary use of recombinant bovine somatotropin is to increase milk production in lactating dairy cows while using fewer resources. The drug works by increasing levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor. It is approved for use in cows in the United States.

Common Precautions

Recombinant bovine somatotropin is known to cause side effects in treated cows, including abnormal milk, reduced pregnancy rates, lameness, hoof disorders, and other health problems.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit values may be reduced during treatment with recombinant bovine somatotropin. The drug should only be used in lactating dairy cattle.

The use of recombinant bovine somatotropin is controversial. Some evidence shows that cows treated with the recombinant hormone are at greater risk for many health problems that require antibiotics, such as udder infections. It is possible that the increased need for antibiotics to treat these health problems may lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There is also concern that milk from treated cows may contribute to the development of cancer in humans.

Recombinant bovine somatotropin should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Any known or suspected overdose should be reported to a veterinarian right away.


Recombinant bovine somatotropin should be stored in its original packaging, out of the reach of children and animals, and under refrigeration. The drug should not be exposed to prolonged sunlight or high temperatures.


Recombinant bovine somatotropin is available as an injection and is supplied in 25 or 100 count boxes of single-dose syringes.

Recombinant bovine somatotropin should be warmed to room temperature before administration. Injections should be made subcutaneously, once every 14 days, beginning during the 9th or 10th week of lactation.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

If a dose of recombinant bovine somatotropin is missed, it should be administered as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the normal schedule resumed. Two doses of this medication should not be given at once.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.