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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Cattle Identification

Record all forms of identification if more than one form is present. (See figure 2 for an example of a calfhood vaccination identification, figure 3 for a depiction of cattle dentition to assess age, and table 3 for a list of bovine breeds and abbreviation codes.) In addition to listing the approximate age, gender, and breed of the animal, use one or more of the following identification methods:

  • Official eartag.  See definition above.

  • Individual animal’s registration tattoo accompanied by the official registration certificate issued by a recognized breed association.

  • Official registration brand accompanied by official brand inspection certificates

    issued by a recognized brand inspection agency.

  • Registration number of a breed association recognized by APHIS –VS in conjunction with an official eartag, tattoo, or brand.

  • USDA-approved backtag. Backtags are used mostly in stockyards or slaughterhouses. These cannot be used as the only identification for onfarm testing.


Figure 2— Example of a Brucellosis calfhood vaccination identification.


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