22 November 1996

Dairy herds need improved health care

MORE effective disease treatments and better schemes of preventative health are needed for dairy cattle.

That is the conclusion of a report in the Veterinary Record, Nov 16, 1996, which examines disease incidence and health in 90 Friesian Holstein herds in England.

According to the report, the average incidence of mastitis in the herds surveyed was 33.2 cases per 100 cows, while the average proportion of the herd affected by mastitis was 20.6%.

Lameness affected 17% of cows in the 90 herds, with an overall incidence of 24 cases per 100 cows. Buit the incidence in the best quarter was only 4.7 cases/100 cows, compared with 47.4 cases/100 cows in the worst quarter of herds.

The number of cows where heat was not detected also differed significantly, according to the report. On average, 33.6% of cows were treated using a PRID or coil. While the best quarter of herds received 16.9 treatments/100 cows, the worst received 74.5 treatments. And 10% of herds, required more than 90 treatments/100 cows.

Calf mortality varied from only 1% in some herds, but reached 20% in others, averaging 7.8% across the 90 herds. At calving, average incidence of aid was 8.7%, but ranged between herds from 0.6% to 27.5%, says the report. &#42