Image 14 Blog

How to prepare for restrictions to antibiotics

Do you know the consequences of antibiotics restrictions? Are you ready to deal with them?

As we think this topic may soon affect your farms (even if you are not in the EU), we have gathered some expert opinions to help shed light on this topic.

As we explained in the previous episode, sometimes Antibiotics are used during the drying off phase of milking. Often the use of these substances is strictly limited, even if they are supported by veterinary prescriptions. So how can dairy farmers replace these Antibiotics and successfully face this upcoming change in their legislation? Here is what Professor Alfonso Zecconi from the University of Milan had to say on the subject.

The opinion of Prof. Alfonso Zecconi from the University of Milan

It is Prof. Zecconi’s opinion that it will become even more crucial to pay the correct attention to the cows welfare during milking after the soon to come change in legislation surrounding AMR. Antibiotics are commonly used to dry the herd off (blanket dry cow therapy or BDCT). To decrease the use of this, a different kind of practice is becoming more and more common, this is known as selective dry cow therapy (SDCT). It is practised already in Northern Europe and Israel. To be successful it requires the farmer to:

  • Accurately monitor udder health.
  • Practice and up hold a thorough level of milking hygiene.
  • Perform customized feeding.

Prof. Zecconi and his team, in cooperation with a local dairy association, carried out a field testing that links the ideal criteria for treating cows to the milk cell content of the last functional check before drying off. If a first lactation (primiparous) cow at drying off has a cell count of more than 100.000 cells/ml or a +2nd lactation cow (multiparous) has a cell count of more than 200.000 cells/ml, or if a cow had registered a clinical case of mastitis, then antibiotics can be applied. Otherwise, the treatment is not justified (especially when the new Regulations come into force). The field testing demonstrates how the use of antibiotics, can be lowered by the 50% if this approach is adopted, but – as per expectations – we also saw an increase of bacterial infections post-partum. So he strongly recommends to increase the udder health check-up and also to use sealant as an alternative, while drying them off.

You can’t change one parameter in an equation (stop antibiotics) without adapting the others (hygiene, milking routine, feeding etc.) It seems that the health and welfare of our herds will shortly become more and more crucial. Follow us on the next episode to learn what our experts recommend.


Informatore Zootecnico nr. 11/2020

Ruminantia mensile, Sanità 07-2018 -17 Luglio 2018 - Di Shmulik Friedman


Date: 05 August 2020

  • Summary:

    Do you know the consequences of antibiotics restrictions? Are you ready to deal with them?