Intramammary infusion of antimicrobials at the end of lactation (dry cow therapy) has been a cornerstone of mastitis management for many years. However, as only a proportion of cows are infected at this time, treating only those cows likely to be infected is an important strategy to reduce antimicrobial usage and minimize risk of emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Such an approach requires the ability to discriminate between cows and quarters likely to be infected and uninfected. This study compared assignment of cows or quarters to antimicrobial treatment at the end of lactation based on cow composite somatic cell count (SCC; i.e., all quarters of cows with a maximum SCC across lactation >200,000 cells/mL received an antimicrobial; n = 891 cows, SCC-group) or assignment to quarter-level treatment based on a quarter level California Mastitis Test (CMT) score ≥ trace (n = 884 cows; CMT-group) performed immediately before drying off. All quarters...

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