Inverse TVS logo

Keep it clean - the importance of hygiene when drying off

Relax, calving is ages away – yeah right!  It’s almost that time of year when we start drying cows off and it important to make sure your technique is right to ensure a quiet dry period and a smooth start to next season. 

Incorrect administration technique is the most common reason for dry period mastitis when using Teatseal® alone, but it is also very important when using antibiotic dry cow therapy.  Antibiotic dry cow tubes are not designed to fight off faecal (poop) bacteria that are introduced by poor administration technique, so you can end up with severe mastitis during the dry period and a higher level of mastitis during calving.

Once you have agreed your drying off program with your vet it is wise to get all product on farm, ready to be used when required. You will also need to make sure to have plenty of gloves, paper towels, teat wipes, teat spray and spray paint; everyone must be wearing clean dry gloves.   It is essential that the teat ends are clean and dry; even disinfectants (e.g. meths) can carry bacteria if they are not dried. Disinfect the teat end using at least one teat wipe per teat; making sure the wipe comes away clean when you are finished. When removing the cap from the dry cow syringe, push the cap sideways with your finger to break the seal then allow the cap to fall off (be sure not to touch the end of the nozzle).  You do not need to use your teeth!!! Partially insert the nozzle into the teat end up to 3mm and infuse the product (full insertion can damage the delicate inner lining of the teat and reduce effectiveness).

If it is cold, the intramammary products can sometimes be harder to administer; gently warming the product by placing the bucket of tubes in a larger bucket of hot water will make administration easier. Do NOT put the syringes directly into the water because water can carry bacteria which may cause mastitis if transferred into the udder on the syringe.

If you are using an antibiotic dry cow therapy, it must be administered before Teatseal® and massaged from the teat up into the udder. If using Teatseal® (either in combination or alone) it must NOT be massaged into the udder, but it must stay in the teat. One way to help the Teatseal® stay in the teat canal is to gently squeeze the top of the teat where it attaches to the udder while inserting. Disinfect and treat one teat at a time, starting with the front left teat and working clockwise round the udder. Treat all four quarters and follow with freshly mixed teat spray of the correct concentration. Immediately after treatment, mark each cow and record the cow ID and treatment given.

Once the mob has been treated and clearly identified, they should be walked quietly back to a clean paddock, preferably away from the milking shed and the milking mob. The dried off mob should be checked daily for the first week or so for any swollen udders that may need investigating, but it is best to keep the treated mob away from the dairy shed for the first week to avoid milk let down, which can slow down the process of udder dry off and affect the teat plug formation. 

Some great videos and training guides can be found on the Teatseal® website but please contact your vet if you or your staff need any further information or training on dry off management.