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Sample Dry-Off Protocol

This procedure is based on results from New York farms that successfully implemented SDCT (2020-2021) and information published by the National Mastitis Council (2016). 


Proper hygiene and teat preparation at dry-off is paramount. Clean, disposable gloves must be worn, and great care must be taken by the administrator to ensure correct infusion of product(s). If teats are not sanitized thoroughly the chance for pathogens to invade the udder are increased. If organisms such as Gram-negative bacteria are introduced at dry-off, the potential for severe infection is higher. 


Dry Cow Therapy (DCT)

Internal Teat Sealant (ITS)

External Teat Sealant (ETS)

Before Dry-Off
  • Work with your herd nutritionist and veterinarian to implement practical protocols for a successful dry-off transition based on the current management systems you use.

  • Prepare inventory of disinfectants, dry cow therapy (DCT) products, and Internal Teat Sealant (ITS) and External Teat Sealant (ETS) products

At Dry-Off
  • Clearly mark all cows to dry off

  • Stop milking cows abruptly

  • Wear clean gloves 

  • Disinfect all teats with a teat dip product

  • Allow 30 seconds contact time with the disinfectant before wiping teats with an individual towel

  • Thoroughly disinfect teat ends with individual sterile cotton soaked in 70% alcohol

  • Prepare teats on the far side of the udder first, then the near side


For Cows Receiving Dry Treatment with Antibiotics:

  • Treat quarters in reverse order from preparation: near side first, far side last

  • Insert the tip of the DCT product syringe into the teat end and express all contents

    • Do not allow anything to touch the sterile product syringe prior to treatment

    • If the syringe falls on the floor, discard and use a new tube

    • DO NOT massage the teats to disperse the product

    • Use partial insertion technique when you can


For All animals at Dry-off (both cows receiving and not antibiotics)

  • Administer ITS or ETS

    • For ITS, squeeze base of teat as you administer product into teat end

    • DO NOT massage the teats – want product to stay in teat end

  • Dip teats with an approved post-dip germicidal product after treatment 

  • Remove treated cows from the milking herd and update cow data in your records system

After Dry-Off
  • House dry cows in a clean and dry area

  • Monitor new dry cows closely for 1-2 weeks, then periodically throughout dry period

    • Ensure proper udder involution and check for swollen quarters

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