During dry off, dairy cows go from converting most of their energy into milk to having a surplus of energy. While nutritional changes are made to support the lower energy needs, a cow’s mammary system also needs to be treated and cared for. Stopping abruptly is important for the udder as it will create back pressure on the alveoli (milk-producing cells) and slows the prolactin production (a hormone the stimulates milk production). While these changes take place, (lasting 7-10 days after the last milking), the udder is most susceptible to infection. During this period the teat canal is open and immune system can be weakened due to added stress on the animal. How these cattle and their udders are treated during this time can make a huge difference in her next lactation as the majority of early lactation mastitis cases occur within the dry period. Giving the udder a chance to repair and form new udder tissue during this time can increase your chances of a more profitable and healthy future lactation for the cow.
By implementing a complete udder health program, as determined by a dairy’s veterinarian and herdsperson, dairy herds can maintain and improve udder health. At dry off, it is very important that no new pathogens are introduced, especially as the udder is stopping milk production and beginning to form the keratin plug that will protect the udder throughout the dry period. Standard practices include using an intra-mammary antibiotic treatment. This treatment helps to eliminate existing infections and help prevent new ones. However, by using antibiotics alone there is still a risk as the teat canal is open leaving environmental bacteria the chance to overload the mammary system to where the antibiotic can no longer fight off infection.
Adding a product like BouMatic’s Gladiator Super Dry give udders a fighting chance. Gladiator Super Dry can greatly reduce the risk of introducing new bacteria into the teat when it is applied at dry off. It provides three critical functions needed to protect udder health: it sanitizes, seals, and conditions.
The chlorine dioxide dip provides a powerful broad-spectrum germicide, killing any existing bacteria on the teat and protecting against bacteria in the environment.
The Gladiator Super Dry also seals the teat end preventing anything from entering, which is highly critical during the 7-10-day period that it takes for the cow’s body to form a keratin plug in the teat canal needed to protect during the dry period. Sealing the teat ends is especially critical in high producing cows are they tend to be slower to form the plug and it often can be weaker due to higher
levels of prolactin in the body.
The third benefit is the conditioners in the dip. Gladiator Super Dry contains Aloe and Vitamin E that soothes teat skin which prevents and treats dry chapped uncomfortable teats.
As cows begin to come back into milk it is important to re-apply Gladiator Super Dry approximately 7-10 days before the expected calving date. During this time the Alveoli are stimulated to produce nutrient-dense colostrum in preparation for the newborn calf. The Keratin plug reabsorbs in the teat canal and teats are being stretched again as they begin to fill with milk. As oxytocin is released during calving our dip helps keep teat ends sealed until is it easily removed at first milking. This protects not only the udder but also the colostrum that is vital to the new calf. Gladiator Super Dry also nourishes the teat skin as the canal fills with milk help keeping the skin soft and pliable.
An easy to apply dip with a blue indicator gives a visual assureance the whole teat is covered. With this indicator, it allows for easy dry off management for both cows and labor force. Gladiator Super Dry a multi-beneficial dip that is a necessity at any farm.