By only using antibiotic treatments on the cows that really need it at drying off, you can save money by instantly reducing your farm’s use of antibiotics, without increasing your risk of disease.
Gwen Rees and Elanco give us six things about selective dry cow therapy that you need to know today:
1. Knowledge is power
Most farmers still administer blanket antibiotic dry cow treatment to each teat of every cow – in fact only 68% of farmers in a recent survey had heard of selective dry cow therapy.1
2. Understanding responsible use
There is now clear evidence to show that treating every cow with antibiotics at dry-off is unnecessary. It’s also not an efficient or responsible use of antibiotics. Using teat sealants instead of antibiotics is one of the easiest ways to reduce the use of antibiotics on your farm. We have a Medicine Matters training course that will cover responsible use of antibiotics.
3. Think about teat sealants
Studies have shown that when used correctly, teat sealants alone can be just as effective as using antibiotic dry cow treatment in cows with a somatic cell count <200.000.2
4. Application is important
Teat sealants are different to antibiotic tubes. It’s extremely important to apply them in the most hygienic way possible to prevent introducing bacteria to the udder when you dry off. It’s worth speaking to your vet and making sure everyone is trained to use them correctly.
5. Maintain the immune system
Maintaining clean, dry bedding during the dry cow period, and at calving, is important, along with appropriate dry cow nutrition to help maintain the immune system at this key time.
6. Look at somatic cell count data
Use somatic cell count data from milk recordings to select cows at high risk of mastitis at dry-off, in combination with clinical mastitis records and California milk testing.
If you have any questions about selective dry cow therapy or want to start it on farm, please do not hesitate to contact us. To read the full article, please click here.
1. Alderton. S. Exclusive survey results: Use of antibiotics on UK dairy farms.
Farmers Weekly 18th September 2015
2. Crispie, F., Flynn, J., Ross, R. P . Hill, C., & Meaney, W. J. (2004). Dry cow therapy with a non-antibiotic lntramammary teat seal – a review. Irish Veterinary Journal, 57(7), 412-418.