The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) is delighted to publish its first ever Guidelines on the Responsible Use of Antimicrobials in Dry Cow Management.

RUMA Secretary General, John FitzGerald, said that RUMA had produced these new Guidelines to help vets and farmers determine how best to treat cows in the drying off period to prevent and treat the development of bacterial disease such as mastitis in the udder.  In line with responsible use principles, the Guidelines stress the need to manage farms to reduce disease challenge and minimise antimicrobial use.  In particular, the Guidelines highlight the need to monitor milk quality and infection status using somatic cell counts and bacteriology, where appropriate, at the herd and individual cow level and to use the monitoring results to decide the appropriate strategy for each cow to be dried off

  • do nothing and monitor closely for the potential development of mastitis (a health and welfare risk for the cow)
  • use an internal teat sealant
  • use a dry cow antibiotic 
  • use both an internal teat sealant and antibiotic. 

Elizabeth Berry, representing the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), led the preparation of the Guidelines.  She said that BCVA supported the production of these Guidelines and, in particular, the promotion of communication between vets and farmers on the management and appropriate use of medicines, including non-antibiotic therapies, for cows during the dry period.

Like all RUMA Guidelines, the new Dry Cow Management Guidelines are available free of charge on the RUMA website or you can download them here