Understanding how mastitis bacteria behave during the dry period is critical for mastitis prevention

With autumn here and winter just around the corner, farmers’ thoughts are naturally turning to dry off. This is a critical period to treat any existing infections and to allow the udder to rest and recuperate in time for the next lactation.

However, it is also critical to protect the cow from environmental bacteria during this time. Bacteria that enter the teat canal during the dry period can go on to cause clinical mastitis immediately after calving or in the first 100 days of lactation.

Many trials have shown that in modern dairy cows the teat’s natural keratin plug often does not form. This means that the teat canal remains open to bacteria entering it throughout the entire dry period.

Even on the most hygienic farms, with the best dry off protocols in place, environmental bacteria can be present; for example on bedding and faeces.

For this reason, it’s critical to have a quality teat sealant, such as Boviseal®, in place to prevent bacterial entry into the teat during the dry period.

Many of the clinical mastitis cases that occur around calving or in the first 100 days of lactation originate from bacteria which entered the teat canal during the dry period.

These bacteria often don’t cause a problem during the dry period and ‘lay dormant’ until the cow approaches calving.

At this point, the cow’s lactoferrin levels dip and her iron levels increase; which creates the perfect environment for mastitis-causing bacteria to multiply rapidly.

These bacteria are often the source of new cases of clinical mastitis, which are frequently seen after calving and in early lactation, thus highlighting the significant impact bacteria picked up during the dry period can have at farm level.

Studies around the world have shown that a high proportion of clinical mastitis infections in early lactation are actually acquired during the dry period.

For example, approximately 50% of all E. coli mastitis cases enter the udder during the dry period.

One trial showed that 56% of environmental streptococcus uberis mastitis infections originated from dry period infections (Wilkinson, 2003), while another study found that one third of all clinical streptococcus dysgalactiae infections came from dry period infections (Bradley, 2001).

These studies prove that the key to preventing post-calving and early lactation clinical mastitis infections is preventing bacteria from entering the teat canal during the dry period.

Using a quality internal teat sealant

To prevent these environmental bacteria from getting into the teat during the dry period, it is vital to use a quality teat sealant.

Patented Boviseal® contains a special ingredient called anhydrous colloidal silica which gives the seal the body and viscosity it needs to remain inside the teat canal throughout the dry cow period.

However, viscosity alone isn’t enough. The seal needs to be able to keep its structure and body when the cow moves and lies down and colloidal anhydrous silica provides the flexible, three-dimensional structure, which allows this to happen.

With Boviseal® in place, bacteria can’t get into the teat, and you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your herd is protected throughout the entire dry period.

In fact, Boviseal’s patented formulation has sealed over seven million Irish dairy cows and is the country’s leading teat sealant. You also have the confidence of knowing your herd is protected by a teat sealant made in Dublin; designed specially to cater for the needs of the Irish dairy herd.

Don’t risk it – insist on Boviseal® this dry off.

If you aren’t sure who your local Boviseal® stockist is, call Bimeda at: 1850-515253.

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