Dry Cow Therapy

You have made the decision, with your veterinarian, to use dry cow therapy in your herd as part of your milk quality management strategy.
Please read the following important points, to ensure you achieve the full value of your investment.
Adequate planning will make the task a lot more manageable.
• Start by ensuring you have adequate people there to help.
• Ensure all staff are educated in best practice of application of dry cow.
• After your herd’s last milking, go home for breakfast before you start the big job of inserting dry cow therapy.
• Ensure all cow numbers are recorded along with which product they received.
• Consider working on just one side of a herringbone shed, so you can keep all your tubes, wipes and gear clean on the other side of the pit.
Equipment you will need
• Wipes / cotton balls: It is essential that all teats are cleaned thoroughly before the insertion of the dry cow tube. Some products come with alcohol wipes, however the most effective way of cleaning the teats is with cotton balls soaked in a 70% meths solution. Keep wiping the teat ends until the cotton balls come away clean – then it is safe to partially insert your dry cow tube into the teat canal.
• Teat spray: Ensure you have enough teat spray made up to spray all teats thoroughly once you have finished inserting your dry cow tubes.
• Buckets of clean water: Have several buckets of clean warm water handy, so all staff can keep their hands as clean as possible.
• Gloves: It is recommended that gloves are worn. Remember that dirty gloves are just as bad as dirty hands, so keep them clean while you are working.
• Patience: A job worth doing is a job worth doing properly – short cuts don’t pay. Gentle handling of stock will mean the job runs a lot more smoothly for everyone involved.
Follow up care for your herd
• It is important to run your herd through the shed 7 – 14 days after you have dried them off to look for any cases of clinical mastitis. Any hot, swollen quarters must be stripped out and treated with the lactation mastitis product discussed with your vet during your milk quality consult.
• Regular monitoring of your herd using paddock checks and occasionally running them through the shed for close inspection is important throughout the entire dry period.
Other important points to remember
• Dry cow product requires milk to be present in the udder to be absorbed fully. It is not recommended to insert dry cow therapy into any quarter which is not milking. It is also not recommended to give dry cow therapy to any cow producing less than 5 litres of milk a day. Drying cows off, in batches will allow you to dry low producing cows off before they decrease their production to this level.
• If you dry your herd off in batches, ensure cows are very clearly and obviously marked. It is amazing how far some cows will travel across a farm to get back in with the herd. Ensure you have accurately recorded all cows as you dry them off to avoid any confusion.
• If you are using a combination of short and long acting dry cow products in your herd, ensure you have accurate records of which cows receive what product. Also, if considering a long acting treatment, check the cows expected calving date to make sure she is not due to calve while still in the milk withholding period.
Remember that the application of dry cow therapy is only one part of your management strategy to improving milk quality. It is not a magic bullet – don’t undo the benefits of your investment by neglecting the other important management factors essential to improving and maintaining your herds milk quality.

Date Added: Tuesday, 30th June 2015