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Selective Dry Cow Therapy

The rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in public health is a major concern. Although AMR is not new, the concern is that resistance is now occurring to some antibiotics that need to be preserved as the last line of therapy for treating human patients. We all have a part to play in the responsible use of antibiotics to help reduce the threat posed by AMR. This includes the use of antibiotics in livestock, pet animals and farmed fish, as well as antibiotics prescribed to people.
Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is now at the forefront for dairy herds, largely because of the positive steps taken by milk buyers and vets to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. SDCT makes the move from the blanket use of antibiotics in all cows at drying off to targeted treatment of only those cows with evidence of udder infection. SDCT is evidence-based decision making and the better the evidence you have, the more confident you can be in having a successful outcome. Gathering data at both herd and cow level is important. Regular and repeated individual cow SCCs (ICSCC), accurate masitits records and working with your vet are essential.
How NMR and NML can help you to keep accurate SCC and mastitis records
There are many benefits of routine milk recording of individual cows. For SDCT, knowing the pattern of cell counts is essential. Critically, knowing the cell counts in the last 3 months of lactation will go a long way to making sure the right cows are selected for antibiotic treatment. Mastitis records are also essential in building a full picture of the cow's udder health at drying off. Use the cell count information and masitis recirds to work with your vet for an affective health plan for SDCT, mastitis control and milk quality in your herd.
As well as testing to identify the cause of mastitis in individual cows, we can also screen the bulk tank every quarter to help build an understanding of the mastitis pathogen challenge on your farm. We can schedule testing on bulk milk samples stored in our fridge, so no additional sampling is necessary. This is a subscription service and once signed up, the testing will happen automatically and the results will be sent to you each quarter.
5 Ways NMR can help you to assess and review selective dry cow therapy related data
The Selective Dry Cow Tool from National Milk Laboratories brings together data on Bulk Milk Somatic Cell Count (BMSCC), Individual Cow Somatic Cell Count (ICSCC) and clinical mastitis recirds at the herd level. All producers can access the tool via their Herd Companion login. As well as bulk tank cell counts for the previous 12 months, if you are recording with NMR you will have a summary of the results from individual cow SCC data. Do you know what proportion of cows in your herd never recorded a cell count over 200,000 in their last lactation? The tool also brings together a summary of mastitis cases (make sure you record them!) and the results from quarterly bulk tak pathogen testing. Use it to sit down with your vet and discuss SDCT.
All farms using full/core NMR recording services can order the 'Drying Off Guide' action list. This report lists eligible animals up to 18 weeks before their next calving, and indicates when each cow will reach 56 days before next expected calving date as a rough guide to when she will need to be dried off (this preference can be altered via the reports order form).
NMR recorded farms will have access to individual cow data through Herd Companion 'iReports' and the best way to view these data are through the 'Due to Dry' action list. This list, which can be easily filtered and sorted, will present a list of milking cows approaching their dry off period. By default it includes the most recent three ICSCC recordings, the number of high recordings in the last lactation and a count of recorded mastitis cases.
To assist you making decisions about dry cow therapy, InterHerd has a very useful graph, particularly if you record clinical mastitis cases and put all your dry cow treatments into the program. Go to Animal Management Lists / Milk Productopn / SCC in last two lactations.
Available to vets, consultants and farmers as a free upgrade from InterHerd. Graphs and reports are easy to generate and can be repeated across different herds.
For further information on our milk recording services or the reporting options discussed for reviewing SDCT related data, please contact Customer Services.