Dry Cows

It seems one of dairy farming most neglected area is the dry cow’s with an added frustration of a mastitis infection.one clinical mastitis case alone is shown to cost £350 during the first 30 days in milk.

To prevent mastitis during the dry period, you should first understand the two high-risk period cows can contract an infection

Immediately after dry-off

Right after a cow stops being milked, the udder will become engorged, and her quarters may leak milk. The teats are also no longer being dipped two to three times a day, and bacteria are not being flushed out from milking, making your cows vulnerable to mastitis.

At dry-off, farmers will habitually use an antibiotic to clear up any remaining infections from the previous lactation and to prevent new infections that may occur in the dry cowshed or environment .

Mastitis treatment during the dry period generally results in higher cure rates than during lactation, and it’s the most effective time to treat a subclinical infection.

Ensure the dry cow shed is cleaned and dry, passages are scraped twice daily, beds are cleaned daily, plenty of clean fresh water, think about you stocking limit,

The end of the dry period going into the next lactation

A cow’s udder will start to develop and produce colostrum near the end of the dry period. Once again, her udder will start to fill, and teats may leak. However, now the treatments that were used shortly after dry-off are below what we call the “minimum inhibitory concentration” to be effective against bacteria. Few antibiotics will provide full protection for the entire dry period.

Teat sealants can play a valuable role in defending against mastitis throughout dry-off. They provide a sterile, antibiotic-free physical barrier between the udder and its environment. Sealants also work well in conjunction with antibiotic therapy.

Internal teat sealants have been designed to last across the entire dry period and simulate a cow’s natural first line of defence, the keratin plug; keratin seals the teat end against harmful bacteria. But we need to ensure internal sealants are used properly. The teat end should be thoroughly sanitized before infusion. Without proper hygiene and preparation, organisms present on the teat end may be forced into the udder and can cause infection, especially if gram-negative bacteria are introduced.

During administration the area where the teat joins the udder should be pinched so the sealant is only applied into the teat cistern.

Contact your supplier to introduce an external teat sealant, which could last several days.

The National Mastitis Council’s Recommended Mastitis Control Program suggests using a teat sealant on dry cows exposed to a high level of environmental pathogens

Even with the best management practices in place, mastitis infections after calving do happen

There are a number of resources available for producers looking to improve or refine their dry cow mastitis protocols. The National Mastitis Council is a global organization dedicated to mastitis control and milk quality. Its website (nmconline.org) offers helpful