Milk producers can now confidently use OrbeSeal teat seals with antibiotic dry cow therapy in high cell count cows, following changes to the product licence, says Pfizer Animal Health.

The licence change allows cows with cell counts above 200,000/ml to have infections treated with antibiotic at drying off and a teat seal inserted to give protection against new infections pre-calving, says Pfizer vet adviser Ben Brearley.

“With antibiotics there is usually a protection gap at the end of the dry period and research shows this is when new infections enter.”

He explains that one project showed 60% of mastitis cases in the first 100 days of lactation originated in the dry period, despite use of antibiotic dry cow therapy.

But high cell count cows need antibiotic to clear up existing infection at drying off, adds Mr Brearley.

Previously, use of antibiotic and the teat seal at drying off has been an off licence treatment.

Now Pfizer has submitted more work to the Vet Medicines Directive showing that it can be safely used in combination with other products, in addition to on its own in cows with low cell counts, to obtain the licence change.

Using both at antibiotic and OrbeSeal may double the cost of dry cow therapy, says product manager Sam Gayton.

But with a cost of 200 for an average case of clinical mastitis, just a few less case in a herd can cover the additional costs.