New tool to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use at dry off

Lowering antibiotic usage and associated costs are the aims behind a new tool for selective dry cow therapy.  

Using existing bulk milk sampling measures, National Milk Laboratories (NML) is offering mastitis pathogen testing alongside SCC results in a bid to reduce antibiotic resistance.

“Cows not infected with mastitis will not benefit from antibiotic dry cow treatment,’ explains vet Karen Bond from NML. “In fact, it is more likely to increase their chances of suffering mastitis in the next lactation. Blanket treatment across the herd may therefore be unnecessary.’

At a herd level, the tool will provide useful insights into which antibiotic treatment is most suitable depending on the pathogens present in the herd. If individual cow SCC and mastitis records are available from milk recording, then Dry Cow Therapy (DCT) can be tailored for each animal.

“Not only will selectively choosing cows for DCT help lower costs but it will also contribute to better milk quality and reduced antibiotic resistance. We must maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics and only use them when they’re really needed; drying off is an ideal opportunity for this,” emphasises Karen.

The Selective Dry Cow Tool will cost £85 a year plus VAT.



1.       The Selective Dry Cow Tool (SDCT) includes quarterly PCR testing on bulk milk samples for 15 mastitis pathogens and a beta-lactamase resistant gene if Staph. Aureus is present. Weekly payment results for SCC will be included.

2.       Only individual cow data will be included in the service if herds record with National Milk Records.

3.       All results are reported via the Herd Companion website

4.       National Milk Labaratories advises all herds to consult with their veterinary adviser before undertaking any new dry cow regimen.

5.       National Milk Laboratories collect bulk milk samples for 98% of the GB milk industry and are therefore able to provide additional services on bulk milk samples that have not already been used as part of the milk purchaser payment testing requirements.

6.       National Milk Laboratories is part of The NMR group. Contact for any queries or call 01902 749920.

7.       For any queries regarding this press release, please contact Karen Bond on 07824 116932 or via

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