Dry off dairy cows in the right way and eliminate existing udder infections
Animal Health Ireland has issued some timely advice for farmers who are drying off cows.
At the end of lactation the dry period provides an opportunity for the udder to repair and regenerate. Milk secretion shuts down and a keratin plug forms in the teat canal, sealing it off. This plug takes around two weeks to form and then begins to dissolve again in the last two weeks before calving. Therefore, the two weeks after drying off and the fortnight before calving are high risk times for picking up new udder infections.
Dry cow therapy (DCT) consists of intramammary antibiotic tubes and/or teat seal.
The objectives of DCT are to:
1. Eliminate existing udder infections at the end of lactation.
2. Prevent new infections over the dry period.
Animal Health Ireland reminds farmers to plan ahead when drying off cows:
•Review expected calving dates and plan ahead so the cow has a minimum six-week dry period (eight weeks is preferable).