RUMA Publishes Guidelines on the Responsible Use of Antimicrobials in Dry Cow Management

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) is delighted to publish its first ever Guidelines on the Responsible Use of Antimicrobials in Dry Cow Management.

RUMA Secretary General, John FitzGerald, said that RUMA had produced these new Guidelines to help vets and farmers determine how best to treat cows in the drying off period to prevent and treat the development of bacterial disease such as mastitis in the udder. In line with responsible use principles, the Guidelines stress the need to manage farms to reduce disease challenge and minimise antimicrobial use. In particular, the Guidelines highlight the need to monitor milk quality and infection status using somatic cell counts and bacteriology, where appropriate, at the herd and individual cow level and to use the monitoring results to decide the appropriate strategy for each cow to be dried off

  • do nothing and monitor closely for the potential development of mastitis (a health and welfare risk for the cow)
  • use an internal teat sealant
  • use a dry cow antibiotic
  • use both an internal teat sealant and antibiotic.

Elizabeth Berry, representing the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), led the preparation of the Guidelines. She said that BCVA supported the production of these Guidelines and, in particular, the promotion of communication between vets and farmers on the management and appropriate use of medicines, including non-antibiotic therapies, for cows during the dry period.

Like all RUMA Guidelines, the new Dry Cow Management Guidelines are available free of charge on the RUMA website


  1. RUMA is an alliance of organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process which aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines on farm. A full list of RUMA members is at paragraph 3 below. For further information contact RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald ( or see the RUMA website
  2. RUMA Guidelines are regularly reviewed in consultation with RUMA members and specialist groups working in the relevant sector.
  3. Guidelines can be viewed at: Responsible Use of Antimicrobials in Dry Cow Management
  4. RUMA’s 24 members are:
    • Agricultural Industries Confederation
    • AHDB – Dairy (formerly DairyCo)
    • AHDB – Pigs (formerly BPEX) and AHDB – Beef and Lamb (formerly EBLEX)
    • Animal Health Distributors Association
    • Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority
    • Assured Food Standards
    • British Egg Industry Council
    • British Poultry Council
    • British Retail Consortium
    • British Veterinary Association
    • City and Guilds Land Based Services
    • Dairy UK
    • Game Farmers’ Association
    • LEAF
    • National Beef Association
    • National Farmers’ Union
    • National Office of Animal Health
    • National Pig Association
    • National Sheep Association
    • NFU Scotland
    • Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
    • RSPCA
    • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
    • Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation
  5. Observers
    • Food Standards Agency
    • Veterinary Medicines Directorate