The end is nigh for the days of blanket dry cow therapy
When the World Health Organisation states that "antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency", and the UK's chief medical officer says the threat posed by resistance to antibiotics "ranks alongside terrorism", then perhaps it is time to realise that the days of blanket dry cow therapy may soon be coming to an end.
The surefire way to prevent a mastitis issue developing in your herd is to use blanket dry cow antibiotics across the entire herd.
However, the general consensus is, that with antimicrobial resistance increasing in humans, and with the finger being pointed (rightly or wrongly) at agriculture, then perhaps our days of deploying this option may be soon coming to an end.
Already blanket dry cow therapy is illegal in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands.
And with Irish milk processors competing with these countries on a global market, you would have to conclude that Selective Dry Cow Therapy (SDCT) is going to become the norm in Ireland sooner rather than later.
With this in mind, we have two options: we can bury our heads in the sand or we can be proactive and do our own on-farm trials to enable us to be prepared if and when SDCT becomes mandatory.
Apart from the health aspect, there are also other benefits to SDCT, such as reduced cost of dry cow tubes and no withdrawal periods to adhere to at after calving.
It also allows cows to fight mastitis by using their own natural immune system, thereby increasing their natural ability to fight off future outbreaks of mastitis.