River Valley Veterinary Clinic November 2021 Newsletter By Dustin Lochner, DVM
Products in Short Supply…Now What?
Hopefully this newsletter finds you all well, close to wrapping up a successful fall harvest and finishing post-harvest fieldwork. As many of you know, things are hard to get right now as the supply chains are behind for the amount of demand that there is, even for simple everyday items in your personal life, not just for the farm. Though, the lack of supplies and backorders in the agricultural industry certainly don’t make those jobs easier. We understand that you are frustrated about the inability to get certain products that you regularly use and depend on to run your farm and keep you animals healthy, we are too. Know that we will do our best to try to get you the products that you want in a timely manner, but sometimes that is out of our control. We will also do our best to assist you with finding quality alternatives to help you with keeping your animals healthy.
One general item that seems especially hard hit by shortages is dry cow treatments. It seems like most of the popular and more common dry cow treatments are on backorder or being given in allotments to clients and clinics. Again, while we do our best to get you the items you want, one alternative that might help some of you isn’t a product as much as it is a management change.
Selective dry cow therapy/treatment (SCDT) is a practice that has been around for several years. Dairy producers use an algorithm to pick or select cows in the herd that are due for dry off to receive intramammary dry cow treatments or not. Thus reducing the amount of dry cow treatment needed, reducing costs of treatments, and being more judicious about who receives an antibiotic treatment. For those farms that can employ SCDT can potentially reduce dry cow antibiotics by ~55% according to the University of Minnesota. The caveat, however, is that SCDT is not for every farm.
Per the U-MN, the dairy farms that have the best chance of success with SDCT are those that have:
- An annual bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC) less than 250,000 cells/ml,
- Have contagious mastitis pathogens under control, i.e. low numbers of Staph. Aureus and Strep. Agalactiae,
- Use a teat sealant in all quarters of all cows at dry off,
- Utilize the correct technique for intramammary infusion at dry off,
- Have well-trained personnel to make the correct screening and treatment decisions, and
- Have the ability to monitor the program to verify it is working.
For those farms that are able to employ SDCT, there are two approaches: an algorithm-guided method and a culture-guided method. According to UMN, those farms that do routine DHIA or similar testing that is reliable and accurate can use the algorithm-guided method. Both methods are effective but am algorithm based method may potentially have greater cost-savings associated with it.
As mentioned earlier, if you are able to employ SDCT you will need to work with your veterinarian to help monitor the program to be sure that it is working properly and not leading to an increase of contagious bacteria or bulk tank SCC. Things to monitor include:
- Regular bulk tank culture screenings for contagious pathogens
- SCC testing
- Routine culture of clinical and chronic mastitis cases
- Monitoring cows for mastitis during the dry period, particularly just after dry off
- Monitoring clinical mastitis rate and SCC in early lactation
- Veterinary involvement and evaluation of records
- And for the culture approach, monitoring of the cleanliness of samples taken.
As stated earlier, the UMN says that other keys to success of a SDCT program includes:
- the use of internal teat sealants (ie Orbeseal) in all quarters of all cows, including those not treated with intramammary antibiotics
- proper intramammary infusion techniques, which are essential as failure to follow aseptic techniques can result in pathogens being introduced into the udder, and
- Well trained, vested employees
- Work with your veterinarian to help set up protocols, train employees, and monitor the program.
Again, Selective Dry Cow Therapy isn’t for every farm but for those that can, it will hopefully help reduce one major treatment cost area on your farm and reduce the amount of dry cow treatment needed, especially at a time when it can be hard to get.
Draxxin KP and Bovikalc Dry
Zoetis and Boehringer Ingleheim are coming out with some new products.
Draxxin KP is a Zoetis product that has a NSAID added to it to help reduce fever and inflammation. The cost is the same as regular Draxxin and it’s also eligible for the current rebates that Zoetis has until the end of the year. Draxxin KP does have limitations on eligible animals so be sure to discuss it with your veterinarian.
Bovikalc Dry hasn’t hit shelves yet but is due out later this fall. It is given just before dry off and helps with reducing milk production at the time of dry off. It creates a slight acidosis in the cow reducing feed intake, lowers glucose intake into alveolar cells of the udder reducing lactose production, and reducing milk production at the time of dry off. Discuss with your veterinarian about how it works and making it apart of your dry off routine.