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Critical time of Mastitis

New udder infections are highest during the dry period.

There are critical times for new infections. They are immediately after ‘dry off’ and also around the subsequent calving.

These new infections occur because the cow’s natural defence mechanism against mastitis, the teat plug, takes time to form, or may not form at all.  This means that the teat may remain open to bacterial infection after drying off, resulting in mastitis.

 ‘Dry off’ is the most critical period.

Stop. Seal. Heal.

This is the time when you need to take action. It’s key to reducing clinical mastitis and cell counts in the next lactation. A dry period of at least 6 weeks allows enough time for the udder tissue to heal after the last lactation and to prepare for the next.

The aim of using a dry off treatment is to:

  • Cure existing infections
    • the role of dry cow antibiotics
  • Prevent new infections and mastitis in the next lactation
    • the role of Teatseal (bismuth subnitrate)

1. Bradley AJ, Huxley JN, Green MJ. The Changing role of dry cow therapy – Past, Present and Future. Cattle Practice, Vol. 10. Part 3, 2002.
2. Williamson, J. Strategies for protecting the teat at dry off. National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2001.


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