As the hot weather continues, some farmers are beginning to dry off parts of their herd. This is a good opportunity to reflect on your upcoming 2019 Dry Cow Consult and begin thinking about how you can get the best value from it this season.

You should be aware about the recent focus on judicious antibiotic use to slow down the development of antimicrobial resistance,  and we all have a part to play in this.

It is likely that in the not too distant future vets won’t be able to prescribe dry cow antibiotics without sufficient data to justify their use. Similarly, blanket dry cow for a herd at drying off is no longer an acceptable practice for the majority of farms. Not having adequate or sufficient data to choose cows for selective dry cow therapy is not a reason to do blanket dry cow therapy.

No one is able to get antibiotics from a pharmacy without a prescription from their doctor, no matter how sick they are or expect to get. Farmers must appreciate the unique and very privileged position they are in, being able to have antibiotics on hand for animal health conditions that may potentially arise. Vets and farmers need to work together to ensure the best possible animal health outcomes whilst using antibiotics in the most appropriate manner.

There are a number of sources of information that vets draw on to make the dry cow consult process as worthwhile as possible and in doing so treat cows in the way that is best for both the cow and for the farm.

Bulk milk somatic cell count 
This information is usually presented in a graph as per the example to the right. It shows the daily cell count measurement, as well as an average for the season to date, and compares it to last year’s data. 

Vets can interpret the shape of the graph and patterns of the peaks to get an understanding of potential mastitis issues on farm. 

Clinical mastitis data and mastitis treatment records
This information should ideally be entered into MINDA.  Analysis of this data,  in conjunction with the bulk milk somatic cell count data,  can help identify when mastitis has occurred throughout the season,  giving more information on what bugs are causing mastitis and where interventions could be made to improve it.

Herd test records
This is a powerful tool which can, amongst other things, identify cows that have chronically high individual cell counts, as well as find out if last year’s high cell count cows have responded positively to dry cow therapy. This information is essential when deciding which cows need dry cow,  which only need teat seal,  and which need to be culled. The final herd test should ideally be done as close as possible to the dry cow consult.

Please contact your VetEnt vet if you have any questions about this information or how to use it. 

20 February 2019, 03:38