Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Mastitis: approach to the cow with chronic mastitis

Contributor(s): James Breen , Alexander Corbishley

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'Chronic' Mastitis: Introduction and Considerations

  • The dairy herd veterinary advisor is often asked to comment on the approach to the management and/or treatment of the cow with 'chronic' mastitis (can be referred to as repeat mastitis, recurrent mastitis, chronic high Somatic cell count Somatic cell count, chronic subclinical mastitis and many more descriptions).
  • Essentially, the clinician is being asked to offer advice on the approach to managing a persistent intra-mammary infection during lactation - and this is very common in most herds.
  • The approach should depend on several factors, including the cow (stage of lactation, age, number of quarters affected etc) and the herd mastitis epidemiology (prevalence of infection, risk of transmission of infection, dry period cure rate.
  • Whilst it is tempting to focus efforts on the treatment of cows with recurrent clinical mastitis and/or increased somatic cell count on a regular basis, it must be remembered that treating and/or managing cows with chronic infections is NOT a long term approach to mastitis control.
  • ...and whilst prescribing and treating infections is often seen as the main role of a veterinary surgeon, of far greater importance for the dairy vet is the prevention of new infections.
  • In particular, the current scrutiny on use of Antimicrobials Antimicrobials in agriculture should remind the dairy herd veterinary advisor that responsible use of antibiotics in mastitis control involves minimizing use and avoiding inappropriate use. One Health
  •  The UK Government target for antibiotic use in livestock of less than 50mg/kg PCU ('Population Corrected Unit') means that the treatment of clinical mastitis/high somatic cell count cows is of major importance in dairy herds: for example, if injectable antibiotics are widely used to treat mastitis infections on-farm, the impact on overall herd antibiotic usage when measured in mg/PCU can be dramatic.
  •  However, a rational approach to the management of chronic mastitis infections is required as part of the veterinary advisors role in herd health - some thoughts are presented under the headings below.

'Chronic' Mastitis: Pathogen(s) and Therapeutics

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Approach to the Cow with Recurrent Clincial Mastitis

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Approach to the Cow with a Chronic High Somatic Cell Count (SCC)

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The Role of Injectable Antibiotic - What is the Evidence?

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The Importance of Achieving a Cure During the Dry Period

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Chronic Mastitis: Conclusions

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Hyde R, Green M, Remnant J, Down P et al (2017) Tool to Measure Antimicrobial Use on Farms. Veterinary Record 180 (7), 183 PubMed.
  • Down P M, Green M J, Hudson C D (2013) Rate of transmission: a major determinant of the cost of clinical mastitis. Journal of Dairy Science 96, 6301.
  • Rato M G, Bexiga R, Florindo C, Cavaco L M et al (2013) Antimicrobial resistance and molecular epidemiology of streptococci from bovine mastitis. Veterinary Microbiology 161 (3–4), 286-294 PubMed.
  • Roy J P & Keefe G (2012) Systematic review: What is the best antibiotic treatment for Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infection of lactating cows of North America? Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 28, 39-50 PubMed.
  • Bradley A J, Breen J E, Payne B, Williams P & Green M J (2010) The use of a cephalonium-containing dry cow therapy and an internal teat sealant, both alone and in combination. Journal of Dairy Science 93, 1566-1577 PubMed.
  • Newton H T, Green M J & Bradley A J (2006) A Novel Approach to the Treatment of Sub Clinical Intra-mammary Infection in UK Dairy Cows: Preliminary Findings from a Recent Research Project. Cattle Practice 14, 77-84.
  • Wenz J R, Garry F B, Lombard J E, Elia R et al (2005) Short Communication: Efficacy of Parenteral Ceftiofur for Treatment of Systemically Mild Clinical Mastitis in Dairy Cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 88 (10), 3496-3499 PubMed.
  • McDougall S, Parkinson T J, Leyland M, Anniss F M & Fenwick S G (2004) Duration of Infection and Strain Variation in Streptococcus uberis Isolated from Cows’ Milk. Journal of Dairy Science 87 (7), 2062-2072 PubMed.
  • Gillespie B E, Moorehead H, Lunn P, Dowlen H H et al (2002) Efficacy of extended pirlimycin hydrochloride therapy for treatment of environmental Streptococcus spp and Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infections in lactating dairy cows. Veterinary Therapeutics 3 (4) 373-380 PubMed.
  • Sol J, Sampimon O C, Barkema, H W, Schukken Y H (2000) Factors Associated with Cure after Therapy of Clinical Mastitis Caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Dairy Science 83, 278-8414.

Other sources of information

  • O'Neill (2016) Tackling Drug Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations. HM Government. [online] Available at: https://amr-review.org.
  • Payne B, Bradley J A, Coombes E, Lusby E et al (2013) The aetiology of bovine mastitis in UK dairy herds. In: Proceedings of the British Mastitis Conference. Sixways, Worcester. pp 59-60.

Organisation(s)

  • School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough. LE12 5RD.
  •  Quality Milk Management Services (QMMS) Ltd, Cedar Barn, Easton, Wells, BA5 1DU.


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