A two-part series on the approach to dry cow therapy was previously published in In Practice (Green and others 2002, Bradley and others 2003), and these articles covered much of the relevant science known at the time of publication. Internal teat sealants (iTS) were in their infancy when these articles were written (Orbeseal [Zoetis] was the first iTS to market in the UK and gained authorisation in June 2002), but are now commonly used in UK dairy herds. This article, the first in a two-part series, briefly describes the evolution of knowledge around the dry period and provides an update on where knowledge, opinions and attitudes to antibiotic and non-antibiotic approaches used in dry cow therapy have changed. A second part, which will be published in a subsequent issue of In Practice will discuss practical approaches to targeting and justifying antibiotic dry cow therapy, with tips, tricks and challenges on initiating targeted/selective dry cow therapy on farm.
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