Clinical Mastitis

5 Tips for Reducing Antimicrobial Use

Article originally published by Rosevean Veterinary Practice

Most dairy farms are already seeing the benefits of slective dry cow therapy. Here we focus on clinical mastitis - often the main contributor to dairy antimicrobial use.

1. Sampling; know your enemy

It is good practice to sample every case of clinical mastitis. Take and freeze a sample before treatment (labelling it with the cow number, quarter and date).

If treatment fails or the mastitis recurs, we have a pre-treatment sample to refer to. Samples can be cultured and/ot tested with PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), increasing the chances of a meaningful result.

Once we know what organisms are responsible for the mastitis, we can advise on appropriate husbandry changes and treatment. It may also guide decisions on drying off or culling.

2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs (e.g. meloxicam, kelaprofen) improve treatment success and reduce recurrence of clinical mastitis, even in mild cases. If not already doing so, discuss with your vet the merits of using NSAIDs in mastitis treatment.

3. Chronic mastitis treatment failures

Discuss problem mastitis and high cell count cows with your vet. A few problem cows can account for a lot of antimicrobial usage. Has she had multiple cases this lactation? Has she not cured after treatment? These are the animals we may send off a milk sample for or they may be candidates for early drying-off or culling.

4. Injectable antibiotics in mastitis

There is little evidence to support the use of injectable antibiotics for mastitis. The only animals likely to benefit are those which are systemically ill (e.g. severe E.coli mastitis) and even then evidence for the use is limited. Treatments such as fluids (oral/intravenous) and anti-inflammatory medicines are of more benefit. If still routinely using injectable antibiotics for mastitis, revise your protocols with your vet.

5. Vaccines

Startvac is a vaccine against E.coli, Staph. aureus and coagulase negative Staphs (CNS). For herds with significant levels of these kinds of mastitis, it can demonstrate a significant cost benefit by reducing the mastitis severity and decreasing milk losses.

UBAC is a new vaccine that is proven to significantly reduce the incidence of Strep. uberis mastitis. This is one of the most common forms of mastitis and can be responsible for recurrent or hard to cure cases.

Use of these vaccines should only be considered after assessment of farm suitability by a vet. Often milking routine and/or husbandry changes are required to get the full benefit from them.

UBAC Emulsion for Injection for Cattle
from £40.00 ex VATfrom £48.00 inc VAT
from £30.70 ex VATfrom £36.84 inc VAT

1st November 2021

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