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Intramammary infection (IMI) treatment and prevention at drying-off is one of the leading causes for using antimicrobials on dairy farms. The objective of the current paper is to describe the protocol used for conducting a systematic review of the literature on non-antibiotic strategies that can be used on dairy cows at dry off to treat and prevent IMI. Relevant literature will be identified using a combination of database search strategies and iterative screening of references. To be included in the review, articles will have to: (1) be published after 1969; (2) be written in English, French, or Spanish; (3) use a study design such as a controlled trial, an observational study, or an experimental study conducted in vivo; (4) be conducted on commercial dairy cows; (5) investigate a non-antibiotic intervention used at dry off; and finally, (6) report on a relevant mastitis outcome. Titles and abstracts, then full articles will be reviewed for inclusion. Specific data will be extracted and risk of bias will be assessed for all included articles. The planned systematic review will be the first to colligate, in a coherent whole, studies investigating non-antibiotic strategies for treating and preventing IMI at drying-off.
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