The prophylactic effect of a dry-cow antibiotic against Streptococcus uberis

N Z Vet J. 1995 Nov;43(6):228-34. doi: 10.1080/00480169.1995.35898.


The prophylactic use of a dry-cow antibiotic for reducing the incidence of mastitis due to Streptococcus uberis was studied in four seasonally calving dairy herds involving 378 cows. The treatment was a long-acting dry-cow antibiotic preparation administered immediately after the last milking of lactation. New intramammary infections were identified by comparing the bacteriological status of quarters at drying off with that after calving, or through manual udder palpation during the dry period. The administration of dry-cow antibiotic to uninfected quarters at drying off reduced the overall incidence of new infections with Streptococcus uberis from 12.3% for untreated quarters to 1.2% of quarters (p<0.01). The reduction was significant (p<0.01) for both dry-period and post-calving infections. The susceptibility of uninfected quarters to new infection by Streptococcus uberis appeared to be unrelated to the infection status of a cow at drying off. Clinical infections during the dry period were most prevalent (97%) in quarters identified as having open teat canals. Fewer open teat canals (p<0.05) were observed among antibiotic treated quarters over the first 4 weeks of the dry period. Treated quarters had a lower (p<0.05) incidence of new clinical infection during the ensuing lactation and lower somatic cell counts. This did not affect production levels of milk, milk fat or protein. The results clearly indicated a prophylactic benefit for the dry cow antibiotic treatment against new Streptococcus uberis infections during the dry period.