Udder infections during the dry period can be minimized by events at drying off. The aim is to shut down milk secretion and seal the teat canal as rapidly as possible - this usually takes about two weeks but can be aided by teat sealants.
To reduce the number of new mastitis cases, it is important for cows to avoid bare ground or heavy manure soiling directly after drying off and for 2 weeks. Teat spraying after dry off is essential.
Cows must be producing less than 12 litres a day prior to dry off
Reducing feed intake and change in routine are the best methods to reduce milk yield. (Cows 7-8 months pregnant still require 70MJ/day for maintenance requirements at a minimum).
Changing to once a day milking greatly increases the risk of mastitis and should be avoided.
Administration of dry cow treatments
It is very easy to introduce bacteria into the teat if the teat end is not disinfected properly, or if it is contaminated before it has sealed. Use teat wipes to disinfect ALL teat ends before treatment and disinfect again before any teat sealant is inserted.
Teat seal can be a great tool to prevent bacteria from entering the udder during the dry period and at calving, but it also will lock in any bacteria you introduce at dry off so it is very important to maintain hygiene.
Take your time and ensure adequate help is available.
Antibiotic residues in milk and meat (including calves) must be avoided by observing the minimum dry periods and withholding periods after calving, which are specified for each product. This is particularly important where cows are culled during the dry period, or calve earlier than expected. So don't forget to make a record of your dry off dates. If a cow calves prior to her withhold date her milk needs to be tested to assess for antibiotic remnants prior to vat entry.
For specific information on the dry cow product most suitable for your cows and the appropriate withholding periods, please contact us for advice.
Selective or blanket dry cow treatment
Blanket treatment is when all quarters of all cows are treated with dry cow infusions.
Selective treatment is when not all cows are treated - only specific problem cows. Herd testing is imperative to be able to accurately selectively treat cows with DCT. Please speak to one of our vets to discuss this if you are considering using selective DCT.