26 May 1995

Therapy helps somatic count

DRY cow therapy is an effective tool in the fight against high somatic cell counts (SCC), claims John Gunn of the Scottish Agricultural College Veterinary Centre, Auchincruive.

He maintains antibiotic dry cow therapy for high SCC cows is more effective at reducing infection than milking cow tubes. It also allows time to repair damaged udder tissue and results in minimal loss of saleable milk. But producers should seek vet advice on the choice of dry cow tubes, having first identified the type and antibiotic sensitivity of mastitis-causing bacteria present.

Clinical infections normally occur in the first three weeks of the dry period, he says. To prevent infection, the dry cow tubes provide antibiotic at a level sufficient to kill mastitis bacteria for an extended period.

Evidence shows that without dry cow therapy 8-12% of quarters in herds with average infection levels would become infected clinically during the dry period, he says. Infected quarters produce 36% less milk in the first month of lactation. So a reduction in clinical quarters at calving by using dry cow tubes makes herd therapy cost-effective, claims Mr Gunn. &#42