J. N. Huxley, M. J. Green, L. E. Green, and A. J. Bradley

The efficacy of an internal dry period teat sealer containing bismuth subnitrate (Product A; Teatseal, Cross Vetpharm Group Ltd, Ireland) was compared with a long-acting antibiotic preparation containing cephalonium (Product B; Cepravin Dry Cow, Schering-Plough Ltd, UK), by assessing the number of new intramammary infections (IMI) acquired during the dry period and the number of cases of clinical mastitis during the first 100 d of lactation. Selection of study animals was based on historical data. No cases of clinical mastitis and all routine cow level somatic cell counts <= 200,000 cells/ml during the previous lactation were used to select cows likely to be uninfected with a major pathogen at drying off. Compared with the antibiotic tube, quarters that received the teat sealer acquired significantly fewer new IMI caused by Escherichia coli, all Enterobacteriaceae, and all major pathogens combined. There was no significant differences in the number of IMI caused by any other major pathogen. There was no significant difference in the severity or number of quarter or cow cases of clinical mastitis between product groups. Sixty quarters (3.2%) were infected with major pathogens at drying off, 27 (2.9%) in teat sealer and 33 (3.5%) in antibiotic tube cows. The dry period cure rate was not significantly different (63% product A, 70% product B). This is the first controlled study to demonstrate the efficacy of an internal bismuth teat sealer in protecting quarters against new dry period IMI caused by major mastitis pathogens, particularly environmental organisms, under UK field conditions.

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