Intramammary antibiotic therapy
Intramammmary antibiotic therapy involves administering antibiotics via the teat sphincter into the udder. The aim is to remove any residual bacterial infection present at the end of lactation. This was common practice in dairy cows but with the concerns about antibiotic resistance it is now only recommended for cattle and not in suckler ewes.
Current evidence suggests that although dry cow therapy in sheep does seem to have a short term effect reducing SCC levels at lambing, this is short lived and that bacteria enter the udder soon after suggesting that it is highly unlikely to be of any benefit in reducing subclinical levels on farms with low incidence levels of mastitis. If the use of these is still felt necessary suitable meat and milk withdrawal periods will apply as as the antibiotic preparations are only licensed for use in cows and the use in sheep will be considered “off licence”.