Teat seal turns around mastitis

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New observations in Australian dairy herds have shown that using a combination of teat sealant and antibiotic dry cow treatment at drying off can cut the number of mastitis cases at calving by up to 50-70% and achieve a significant drop in cell count.

Dairy Australia Countdown Downunder project leader, Dr John Penry, has some tips for getting the best results from teat sealant. “Using both antibiotic dry cow treatment and teat sealant in combination is more expensive, and a larger job because all quarters receive two intramammary tubes. But it can be a great investment to lower mastitis next season,” Dr Penry said. For example, investment in teat sealant (at about $10/cow) is quickly recouped if the number of clinical cases next lactation (costing $250/case) is reduced by 70%. And there’s the added bonus of reduced stress for everyone working in the dairy. The combination approach should be planned in conjunction with a veterinarian.

The technique for applying teat sealant is different from antibiotic dry cow treatment. Teat sealant must remain in the teat and NOT move up into the udder. “Teat sealant basically forms a plug in the teat, providing a protective barrier to bacteria that may enter through the teat while the teat canal keratin plug is forming,” he said. ALWAYS administer the antibiotic treatment first and the teat sealant LAST. And NEVER massage the udder after administering teat sealant. “If using antibiotic dry cow treatment and teat sealant, prepare, disinfect and treat each teat with absolute attention to best practice. This reduces the risk of contamination,” Dr Penry said.

Once treated, teat dip or spray the whole surface of all teats with the teat disinfectant you use in the dairy. Mark each cow with a waterproof method so she can’t be milked again by mistake and finally, update your records.

For more information: refer to Countdown Downunder’s Guide for Drying off technique, available on http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Animals-feed-and-environment/Animal-health/Mastitis.aspx or contact Countdown Downunder on 03 9620 7283.