Mastitis is a common and pricey disease on the dairy operation, costing nearly $200 per clinical case due to decreased milk production, lower milk quality premiums, treatment expenses, and increased culling and death. The cost and inconvenience of mastitis is further magnified if a treated cow relapses with a recurring infection.
“There is nothing more frustrating than having to re-treat a cow for mastitis,” says Dan Funke, Pfizer Animal Health. “Mastitis therapy is an investment in labor, treatment costs and milk discard, and treatment decisions must be made in the best interest of the animal’s health and well-being. Dairy producers should utilize the course of treatment that offers the best chance of a complete cure the first time.”
Funke offers tips for appropriately treating mastitis for a successful outcome:
Consult with your client. Work with your client to help him/her determine the appropriate mastitis therapy and duration of treatment to help achieve a bacteriological cure, thereby eliminating the infection, not just the symptoms. An extended-therapy protocol — defined as administering intramammary treatment for two to eight days — often can increase the likelihood of a complete cure. Only two products on the market are labeled for and demonstrated effective with extended therapy.
Tailor treatment. Treatment protocols should be based on the cow’s treatment history; length of the infection; and cow age, health status and lactation stage. It’s also important to identify the pathogen causing the mastitis infection. With this information, you can prescribe the appropriate mastitis product and protocol. Using a product labeled for extended therapy, you can tailor treatment duration to the individual case. For example, eight days of treatment may be recommended for hard-to-kill mastitis pathogens.
Complete treatment protocol. Dairy producers often discontinue treatment when milk returns to normal and clinical signs of the infection subside. Be sure your clients complete the prescribed treatment regimen to help ensure that the infection is eliminated.
Extended therapy can help you properly treat the cow the first time, reducing the chance of relapse and cost of treatment failure. It is the best thing we can do for the cow, and the bottom line.
For more information on ways to improve your milk quality, visit www.milkqualityfocus.com.