UC Davis Veterinarians Help 30-year-old Cow Live Comfortably

January 30, 2014 - There aren’t too many cows still around who lived through the Reagan administration. Most cows can live to be 15 or maybe even 20, but Joy the Holstein cow is an amazing 30 years old. Born in 1983, she came to live on the ranch of Pat and Dianna Evans shortly after in El Dorado Hills, California. They named Joy and two other calves, Mary and June, after waitresses who worked in the family’s restaurant.

Joy gave birth to her first calf in 1988, bellowing loudly toward the Evan’s house for help. Over the next 13 years, Joy would go through the same routine with each of her births. After signaling for help, she would lay down in front of the watering trough next to the barn and patiently wait for her human family to come pull her calf into the world. Joy gave birth to her 10th and final calf on September 11, 2001. Joy so enjoyed being a mother that she would adopt at least five other calves to raise whenever her sister Mary would have twins.

Joy retired into pet status after her 9/11 calf was born, and can now add cancer survivor to her list of accomplishments. Joy recently visited the Livestock Medicine and Surgery Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for an infected eye. Upon examination, it was found that her eye had evidence of a cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

UC Davis veterinarians successfully removed the eye and any surrounding cancerous tissue. A month later, Joy returned to the VMTH to have her sutures removed. Her incision site was healing well with new tissue growth, and her appetite was improved. She was even getting around better thanks to some pain medication for her arthritis.

“Pat and I want to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Anita Varga and the entire staff at UC Davis,” said Pat’s daughter Amy Anders. “You have made it possible for Joy (and our family) to enjoy her retirement and pet status a little longer. At around 30 years old, the decision to remove her eye was the only option that could extend her life comfortably, and do so without a huge financial consequence.  We are so grateful for this gift!”

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