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Farm Animal Practice
A rational approach to dry cow therapy
  1. Martin Green

    Martin Green is an RCVS Specialist in Cattle Health and Production. He currently divides his time between dairy practice in Glastonbury and research at the University of Warwick.

    ,
  2. Jon Huxley

    Jon Huxley is a lecturer in farm animal production medicine at Bristol. He recently completed a PhD on non-antibiotic approaches to mastitis control during the dry period.

    and
  3. Andrew Bradley

    Andrew Bradley is an RCVS Specialist in Cattle Health and Production. He is director of the Farm Animal Practice and a lecturer in dairy production medicine at Bristol.

Abstract

IN all areas of medicine, the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents has become a subject of much interest and debate. Concerns over the misuse of antibiotics centre on the possible build up of bacterial resistance and a fear of residues entering the food chain. The veterinary surgeon plays a pivotal role in the way in which antibacterial agents are used on the dairy farms under his/her care and dry cow therapy is probably the most commonly prescribed antibiotic product, with almost 4 tonnes of active ingredients being used in the year 2000. As with all medicines, it is essential that dry cow therapy is prescribed on a rational basis. The aim of this two-part article is to describe current knowledge on udder health in the dry period and to use this to develop a logical approach to prescribing dry cow therapy. Part 2, which will be published in the next issue, will provide guidance on product selection.

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