University of Limerick
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Internal teat sealants alone or in combination with antibiotics at dry-off – the effect on udder health in dairy cows in five commercial herd

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-25, 15:43 authored by C. Clabby, S. McParland, P. Dillon, Sean Arkins, J. Flynn, J. Murphy, P. Silva Boloña
In the dairy industry, the dry period has been identified as an area for potential reduction in antibiotic use, as part of a one health approach to preserve antibiotic medicines for human health. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of dry cow treatment on somatic cell count (SCC), intramammary infection (IMI) and milk yield on five commercial Irish dairy herds. A total of 842 cows across five spring calving dairy herds with a monthly bulk tank SCC of < 200 000 cells/mL were recruited for this study. At dry-off, cows which had not exceeded 200 000 cells/mL in the previous lactation were assigned one of two dry-off treatments: internal teat seal (ITS) alone (Lo_TS) or antibiotic plus ITS (Lo_AB + TS). Cows which exceeded 200 000 cells/mL in the previous lactation were treated with antibiotic plus ITS and included in the analysis as a separate group (Hi_AB + TS). Test-day SCC and lactation milk yield records were provided by the herd owners. Quarter milk samples were collected at dry-off, after calving and at mid-lactation for bacteriological culture and quarter SCC analysis. Cow level SCC was available for 789 cows and was log-transformed for the purpose of analysis. Overall, the log SCC of the cows in the Lo_TS group was significantly higher than the cows in Lo_AB + TS group and not statistically different to the cows in the Hi_AB + TS group in the subsequent lactation. However, the response to treatment dif fered according to the herd studied; the log SCC of the cows in the Lo_TS group in Herds 3, 4 and 5 was not statistically different to the cows in Lo_AB + TS group, whereas in the other two herds, the log SCC was significantly higher in the Lo_TS when compared to the Lo_AB + TS group. There was a significant interaction between dry-off group and herds on SCC and odds of infection in the subsequent lactation. The results of this study suggest that the herd prevalence of IMI may be useful in decision-making regarding the treatment of cows with ITS alone at dry-off to mitigate its impact on udder health.



Animal;16 (2), 100449





Other Funding information

Dairy Research Ireland, Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme



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