Dry cow therapy regulations reminder

As the dry cow consult season approaches, it is important to remember what the regulations are as they have changed over the last few years. Understanding what data you need to bring (and why) makes the consults a lot more productive and informative for you and your vet.

Why have rules changed?

Antibiotics are not only used in our animals, but also for us and our families. Antimicrobial resistance is when bacteria which cause disease are no longer killed by antibiotics. Resistance is on the rise and, globally, infection by “superbugs”  are likely to match cancer as a leading cause of fatalities by 2050!

While we may think animals are unlikely to cause this, bacteria have been shown to pass information, such as genetic resistance, across species. Any unjustified use of antibiotics - such as putting them in uninfected quarters at dry cow time, is increasing the exposure of bacteria to antibiotics which they can develop resistance to.

As an interesting side note, it is not only antibiotics that bacteria can develop resistance/tolerance to. It can also include anything they are exposed to in the environment, such as copper and zinc.

What are the new recommendations? 

It is recommended that all cows have some form of protection against mastitis at dry off, however, only cows likely to have an infection should be given dry cow antibiotics (and teat seal), with the rest to be given teat sealant only.

How can you tell if a cow is infected?

Like many things, we need data to back up our recommendations and give sound advice. Useful data includes: 

  • Herd test results- individual Somatic Cell Counts, especially repeated over the season, are the best,

  • Clinical mastitis records,

  • Rapid Mastitis Testing.

The role of the vet

In your mastitis and dry cow consult, discuss with your KeyVet what the best approach is for your herd. Bringing the following records will help facilitate this discussion:

  • Herd test results

  • Bulk tank averages over the season, 

  • Clinical mastitis treatment record,

  • Any other relevant information, such as RMT testing results and cow ages, etc.

Anything else?

We are always here with a friendly, trained team who can help apply dry cow or teat sealant, in a hygienic and low-stress manner.


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