Administration of dry cow antibiotic

An update on evidence-based selective dry cow therapy protocols

Dry cow antibiotic therapy (DCT) is the administration of long acting intramammary antibiotics at the time of dry-off. This practice gained widespread implementation in the 1960s as part of the ‘five point plan’ in the UK and numerous clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy in promoting udder health through the control of intramammary infections (IMI) during the dry period (Halasa et al., 2009a; Halasa et al., 2009b). In many countries, DCT is mostly used in a ‘blanket’ fashion (blanket dry cow therapy; BDCT), which involves treatment of all quarters at dry-off. However, the large majority of quarters in modern well managed dairy herds are not infected at dry-off (Rowe et al., 2019; McDougall et al., 2022), and therefore, unlikely to benefit from DCT. Furthermore, BDCT significantly increases total antibiotic usage (de Campos et al., 2021), which farmers are increasingly expected to use sparingly.

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What we have learned about mastitis therapy in lactation over the last few years

History of overtreatment – In a large German study from 2019 – conducted before resistance testing became mandatory before the use of critical antibiotic agents in veterinary medicine in Germany – mastitis therapy in Germany was described based on the responses of 499 surveyed farmers/milkers/herd managers.

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