1 October 1999

Treat mastitis in young cows

TREATING sub-clinical mastitis in young cows is economically worthwhile, and can help safeguard future herd health.

Vet Jason Barley, of Hoechst Roussel Vet, says results from trials involving 10 herds show that treating young cows who have a cell count of 100,000/ml or more over a three month period is viable, and can achieve a 70-75% cure rate.

The trial, treating sub-clinical mastitis, based diagnosis on cell counts from each quarter and bacteriological isolation, and ran for 70 days after treatment.

"Early detection of new infection should help prevent it establishing itself in the udder and becoming entrenched. Detecting and treating contagious mastitis in animals in their first, second or third lactations is key to preventing its spread," said Dr Barley.

The trial excluded cell counts from cattle in their first month of lactation, but then looked for animals with a whole udder cell count of 100,000/ml or more rising over three consecutive months.

"Where cell counts met those criteria, we looked at cell count in each quarter and bacteria present. Cows were left untreated – the control – or treated with Cephaguard LC Intramammary and Cephaguard 2.5% injection or the tube alone to see how much treatment was required to shift infection in young cows."

Treatment was judged to have cured infection when cell count was less than 100,000/ml on day 70-73 after treatment, and when a path-ogen isolated at the start couldnt be isolated later in treatment. Most success was achieved when treating quarters where pathogens were isolated and known. Tubing alone was the most successful option.

When cows were not treated, cell count rose, while also providing a reservoir of infection for the rest of the herd, warned Dr Barley.

Look for sub-clinical infection in young cows, isolate the organism and treat accordingly."