Refresh drying off technique to achieve optimum results

Research has clearly demonstrated the link between infection during the dry cow period and subsequent clinical mastitis and elevated Somatic Cell Counts (SCC) in early lactation.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 8:20 am
Updated Monday, 23rd July 2018, 8:24 am

Drying off cows using the “best practice” technique means that they are at less risk of post infusion infection and that the antibiotic dry cow tube and teat sealant are going to work as well as possible for optimum results.

As this is such a critical period, frequently reviewing how you dry off is useful to ensure your technique is as effective as it can be.

Initial preparation

A designated trained person should be responsible for drying off cows.

Drying off should be treated as a separate task with no concurrent tasks such as foot trimming or tail clipping being performed.

Drying off should be performed in a clean, dry and safe environment at a separate time to milking.

All materials needed should be prepared ready for dry off.

Suggested materials for the gold standard approach include: tubes, pre- and post-dip, cotton wool swabs and surgical spirit as well as gloves, paper towels, tail tape (or other marker) and dry-off cow list.

It is suggested that cotton wool swabs should be prepared prior to the task and placed in a clean covered tub of surgical spirit.


The operator must ensure that clean gloves are worn. If gloves become dirty during the procedure, they may need to be changed.

If the udder is dirty it should be washed and dried thoroughly.

Keep syringes clean whilst preparing the teats and DO NOT immerse syringes in water. Dip teats in a rapid-acting pre-dip, leave for 30 seconds and then wipe each teat completely dry with separate disposable paper towels. Strip foremilk and discard.

Always use a new pair of gloves for the treatment of each cow.

Thoroughly disinfect the whole surface of the teat with a disposable alcohol or spirit soaked wipe.

Repeat until the teat wipe comes away clean.

Disinfect the far teats before the near teats to avoid accidental contamination of previously disinfected teats.

If using Antibiotic Dry Cow Therapy (ADCT) in combination with ORBESEAL®, apply one ADCT tube per quarter and then repeat the disinfection procedure.

Starting with the teat nearest you, insert the ORBESEAL syringe nozzle into the teat canal, firmly grasp the base of the teat at the udder attachment and slowly inject all contents. Be careful not to touch the nozzle of the syringe. Use one complete syringe per quarter. Do not massage. ORBESEAL must remain in the teat canal.

Insert ORBESEAL into the nearest teats first (as numbered below) to minimise contamination of teats that have not been treated.

Apply a post-milking disinfectant to cover 90% of each teat.

Mark each treated cow and keep her away from the milk supply. Treated animals should be allowed to stand for 30 minutes to allow the teat to close.