November Edition 2019 ANIMAL HEALTH IRELAND Contributing to a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector through improved animal health







CellCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27

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NATIONAL MASTITIS CONTROL PROGRAMME Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41WN27

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Programme news

Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

W elcome to this month’s CellCheck newsletter. As the peak time for drying off approaches for many herds, this newsletter concentrates on some of the key tips to keep in mind when tubing cows, and when using an internal teat sealant in particular. Our featured research article looks at some of the dry period management factors that can influence somatic cell counts in early lactation. This is the last month for receiving applications from herd owners for free Dry Cow Consults, delivered through the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health, funded by the Rural Development Programme and coordinated by Animal Health Ireland. For more information and online applications click here. We look forward to our annual CellCheck ‘Milking for Quality’ awards event, which will be held later this month in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny. This is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the 500 farmers in the country, with the best annual average SCC. Now in its second year, we will also be announcing the winners of the two discussion group categories-Best Discussion Group and Most Improved Discussion Group. Next month’s newsletter will provide you with a full report on the event!



CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | November Edition 2019


Teat sealant – the Dos and Don’ts!

A timely message from the CellCheck Technical Working Group

B acterial infections that cause mastitis must enter the udder first. The only way into the udder are the 4 teat openings. Internal teat sealants provide a non-irritant, antibiotic free, physical barrier between the cow’s udder and the environment. All cows will benefit from a teat sealant. Discuss with your vet which cows require antibiotic tubes as well, to treat any existing infections acquired during the previous lactation.

Correct use and insertion is essential: 1. Do clip the tails a few days before. Clipped tails are clean tails, and it is easier to see what you are doing when drying off the cows. 2. Don’t try to dry off dirty cows. Consider adding straw to the diet for a week before drying off. It will ensure the milk yield drops below 12 litres per day and the dung will be drier and firmer, leading to cleaner cows. 3. Do make sure you have at least one other person to help on the day, to ensure the procedure is spotlessly clean and hygienic. 4. Don’t try to dry off too many cows in one session. It takes a lot of effort to dry off cows in a hygienic fashion- to do the job well, CellCheck guidelines recommend drying off no more than 20 cows per person at a time. 5. Do organise all your tubes, gloves, pre-and post- dip/spray, paper towels, cotton wool swabs and methylated/surgical spirits before you start. 6. Don’t rush or have a mobile phone in the parlour!! Have a routine andmake sure there are no distractions.

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | November Edition 2019



7. Do take time to ensure the teats and teat ends are surgically clean before any tubes are inserted. 8. Don’t forget your glasses and a good head torch. It is important that for every tube you “hit” the teat orifice first time, every time and not the skin beside it. There may be dirt and bacteria on this skin that could be picked up on the nozzle end and pushed up into the udder. 9. Do pinch the teat at the base of the udder to block the teat when inserting teat sealant. 10. Don’t try to push air out of the tube before insertion. There is air in the tubes, but this will not cause a problem in the udder. The less time the cover is off the nozzle of the tube, the less chance there is of it becoming contaminated with dirt and bacteria. 11. Do keep the teat pinched until you have removed the nozzle of the teat sealant. If there is any air or an increase in pressure in the teat, it can then exit down through the teat orifice. 12. Don’t massage the teat sealant up into the udder.

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | November Edition 2019



10 top tubing tips!

[Click here] for previously published tips

W hen it comes to drying off cows, do we give enough attention to hygiene? Or do we just try and get the job done, and breathe a sigh of relief when it is? Remember, what you do now when you dry off your herd can make or break 2020, in terms of mastitis. Bacteria can sneak in through the open teat end, especially in the early dry period……and they can also be welcomed in by the human, during the process of drying off! Cleanliness is crucial, and even more so if you are using teat seal only at drying off. 1. Have extra hands on deck, whether you have a big or small herd. The less you have to handle and pick up, the cleaner you will stay. 2. Clip tails well before you start. A swipe from a dirty tail is a great way to contaminate the area (and if it’s across the face, test your patience!). 3. Don’t dry off cows during milking. Draft them off once they’re milked, and bring them back in for drying off when the parlour is clean. 4. Have some breakfast first! Drying off cows can be hard enough with doing it on an empty stomach 5. Every cow deserves clean gloves. 6. Mark the cow before you give her any treatment-this reduces the risk of any mistakes later. 7. Sterilise the teat ends thoroughly before

introducing any tube. Use sterilising wipes or cotton wool balls soaked in methylated spirits, whichever you find easier to work with. Teat seal is meant to stay in the teat! Before you put the tube of seal in, pinch the teat where it joins the udder and don’t massage it up afterwards. Keep good treatment records, to avoid any mix- ups when calving starts. 10. It’s not a race!! If you want to dry off the last 8. 9.

cow as well as you did the first cow, then 20 cows is about the most any one person will manage at a time.

Sterilise teat ends with cotton wool or teat wipes

For more information and practical tips on Dry Cow Treatment, see CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control — Guidelines 16-18 & Management Notes C-F

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | November Edition 2019



J. Dairy Sci. 91:1403–1415 | doi:10.3168/jds.2007-0621 | © American Dairy Science Association, 2008.

Cow, Farm, and Herd Management Factors in the Dry Period Associated with Raised Somatic Cell Counts in Early Lactation M. J. Green,*† 1 A. J. Bradley,‡ G. F. Medley,§ and W. J. Browne‡ *School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, LE12 5RD †School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK ABSTRACT This study investigated cow characteristics, farm facilities, and herd management strategies during the dry period to examine their joint influence on somatic cell counts (SCC) in early lactation. Data from 52 commercial dairy farms throughout England and Wales were collected over a 2-yr period. For the purpose of analysis, cows were separated into those housed for the dry period (6,419 cow-dry periods) and those at pasture (7,425 cow-dry periods). Bayesian multilevel models were specified with 2 response variables: ln SCC (continuous) and SCC >199,000 cells/mL (binary), both within 30 d of calving. Cow factors associated with an increased SCC after calving were parity, an SCC >199,000 cells/mL in the 60 d before drying off, increasing milk yield 0 to 30 d before drying off, and reduced DIM after calving at the time of SCC estimation. Herd management factors associated with an increased SCC after calving included procedures at drying off, aspects of bedding management, stocking density, and method of pasture grazing. Posterior predictions were used for model assessment, and these indicated that model fit was generally good. The research demonstrated that specific dry-period management strategies have an important influence on SCC in early lactation. ‡Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol, BS40 5DT, UK §Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

KEY WORDS: astitis, somatic cell count, dry period, Bayesian multilevel model

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | November Edition 2019



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