“Alarming” number of dairy clients possibly missing out


Nearly four-in-ten dairy farmers could be missing out on the latest advances in mastitis prevention and treatment, according to results of a 400-farmer survey by the animal health company Zoetis.[Ref 1] The average participant had 144 cows producing 7,648 litres/com with a mastitis somatic cell count of 165,000 cells/ml.

Those potentially missing out last reviewed mastitis prevention with their vets two years ago (12%), three years ago (4%), more than three years ago (8%) or have never done so (14%).

Zoetis vet Dr Jude Roberts says the study was done to gain a better understanding of how to help farmers and veterinary practices mutually achieve lower clinical mastitis rates specifically, and better udder health in general.

“Clearly, the place to start tackling this alarming outcome is encouraging farmers and vets to ask each other about taking advantage of all today’s latest knowledge,” she says.

“But if it was that simple, all farmers rather than just 63% would be doing this already. Perhaps it is coincidence, but latest estimates also suggest that just over 60% of dairy herds use an internal teat sealant, predominantly OrbeSeal, for dry period protection against new mastitis infections.”

In a number of significant studies since 2008, Dr Roberts says using OrbeSeal® produced reductions in early lactation clinical mastitis of between 37% to 50%.[Ref 2, 3, 4] One of these compared the efficacy of conventional antibiotic dry cow therapy alone and in combination with the teat sealant and found a 50% reduction in clinical mastitis over the first 100 days of lactation attributed to the use of OrbeSeal.

Another study involving 12 commercial dairy farms found 40% fewer cases of clinical mastitis in the first 100 days of lactation in cows dried off with a combination of long-acting dry cow antibiotic and OrbeSeal, compared to cows dried off with the same long acting dry cow tube alone.

“This illustrates the wealth of knowledge available and it’s never too late to introduce changes for the better,” Dr Roberts adds. “Of course, some farmers worry about the possible cost of asking their vet’s advice. From personal experience, I know vets share this concern. But this stops a farmer getting the best out of their vet’s knowledge and expertise, and it restricts the vet’s impact on animal health to the established comfort zone.

“The best way out, in my experience, is that one or the other has to break the ice into new ground, perhaps by agreeing explicitly to have a short and free of charge, ‘any other business’ session at the end of each vet visit.”

OrbeSeal contains bismuth subnitrate, POM-V. For further information, please contact Zoetis , Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). AH004/14.

1 P Christopher & J Roberts (2013). Vets involvement in mastitis control – a great opportunity to re-engage. Proceeding of the British Mastitis Conference, Sixways, Worcester, p49-50. The Dairy Group, University of Nottingham, and Dairyco.

2 Pfizer (2011). Effect of introducing OrbeSeal into a dry cow management programme and the impact on farm economics. Poster published at International Conference on Udder Health and Communications, The Netherlands, October 2011.

3 HT Newton et al, 2008. Comparison of the efficacy of cloxacillin alone and cloxacillin combined with an internal teat sealant for dry cow therapy. Veterinary Record, 24 May 2008, no 162, p678-684.

4 Mütze et al (2008). Comparing the effect of an application of a long-acting dry cow antibiotic for drying off with the combined application of a long-acting dry cow antibiotic and an internal teat seal on udder health of dairy cows state up to 100 days post-calving. Proceedings of the 25th World Buiatrics Congress 2008, Budapest, Hungary.