16 March 2001

Mastitis guide offers ways to cut incidence

ALTHOUGH somatic cell counts and clinical cases of mastitis have dropped within dairy herds in recent years, incidence of environmental mastitis is causing concern.

Speaking at the launch of his new book, The veterinary guide to mastitis, Somerset-based vet, Peter Edmonson stated that between 1968 and 1995 incidence of clinical E coli mastitis has doubled from six cases to 12 cases/100 cows.

"As a result of lower dairy profits, producers have tended to cut costs resulting in many units having overstocked cow accommodation, reduced staffing levels, minimal bedding and lack of dry cow therapy.

"Future incidence of environmental mastitis is, therefore, unlikely to be reduced from the current 70% of all clinical cases, and may even increase."

The book, co-written by Glos-based vet Roger Blowey and published by Intervet, aims to provide producers and vets with practical ways of reducing mastitis.

"Each mastitis case costs an average £90-£110 and should be regarded as a welfare issue. Hopefully, producers and vets will be provoked into trying new practices and be able to use the book to identify causes of high cell counts and clinical mastitis within the herd."

Mr Edmondson emphasised that prevention is the key to successful mastitis control, but first it is necessary to identify the particular pathogens causing problems and treat cows with prompt, appropriate and effective treatment.

These topics are covered along with practical advice on controlling further mastitis infection and the importance of dry cow therapy.

Normally £16.50, there are 500 free copies available by calling Intervet on 0800-1695351. &#42