Articles

Should we be rethinking blanket dry cow therapy?
Dr. Kasey M. Moyes, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Immunology;Department of Animal and Avian Sciences; University of Maryland.

Blanket dry cow therapy (BDCT) is defined as administering intramammary antibiotics into all four mammary quarters (i.e. infected or not) at dry-off to prevent new intramammary infections caused by susceptible organisms in the early dry period.

In the past, BDCT has reduced somatic cell count (SCC) and the prevalence of contagious mastitis pathogens at calving. However, with growing consumer concerns regarding antibiotic resistance and the growing popularity of on-farm tests that differentiate infected from uninfected quarters, selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) has been a useful tool on well-managed herds in the United States and is already common practice or required in other countries (i.e. Canada and Denmark).

Selective dry cow therapy is the process of only treating infected quarters with intramammary antibiotic therapy at dry-off. For uninfected quarters, preventing a new intramammary infection during the dry period is vital and can usually be accomplished with the implementation of an intramammary teat sealant that has been shown to prevent clinical mastitis in the subsequent lactation. So what does it take for SDCT to increase a dairy producer’s bottom line associated with improving animal health and antibiotic use stewardship? The National Mastitis Council stresses the use of highly sensitive diagnostic tests to identify infected quarters that need antimicrobial treatment and a mechanism to protect untreated quarters from new intramammary infections during the dry period.

Dr. Sandra Godden, current NMC president, states, “If we miss identifying and treating infected quarters, these intramammary infections will carry into the next lactation, causing increased SCC and clinical mastitis.” Although SDCT requires additional steps, it will most likely save on labor therapy and antimicrobial costs.

In summary, producers could potentially lose money from increased SCC and clinical treatment. A University of Minnesota pilot study (under the direction of Dr. Sandra Godden), estimated a net benefit of $2.62/cow and a 48 percent reduction in antibiotic use for cows assigned to the SDCT group when compared with the BCDT group. Improving animal health and reducing costs to the producer will further strengthen the competitiveness of the dairy industry in the United States.

 

Source: Lancaster Farming


CURRENT ISSUE

Mid Fall Special 2017

LATEST TWEET

Follow @cowsmo on twitter.