Problem. Solution. When things go wrong on the dairy, you find a solution and fix it. Why should your approach to mastitis treatment protocols be any different, especially when the solution leads to better milk quality and healthier cows?

Gram-negative mastitis can be a real threat to your herd’s productivity. Nearly 40 percent of mastitis infections on dairy operations are caused by Gram-negative mastitis. And, if left untreated, mild and moderate Gram-negative mastitis can become severe, toxic and have a detrimental impact on your cows.

Solution found. Recent research shows treatment of Gram-negative mastitis can be successful. Cornell University research published in the Journal of Dairy Science1 shows that a five-day ceftiofur hydrochloride intramammary therapy can effectively treat mild or moderate Gram-negative mastitis in which there are visible signs of mastitis but the cow is not sick or off feed. According to this research, for clinical mastitis caused by Eschericia coli, 89 percent of the cows treated with the five-day regimen showed bacteriological, or complete, cures, compared with 53 percent of untreated control cows. Please visit to get additional information on the research study.

“This first-of-its-kind study is changing the way veterinarians prescribe and producers implement coliform mastitis treatment protocols,” explains Roger Saltman, DVM, MBA, Group Director, Pfizer Animal Health Cattle Technical Services, and co-author of the study.

Based on this new information, Saltman recommends the following approach: 

·         Culture to identify organisms: Work with your veterinarian to establish a routine and ongoing culturing program to determine the common mastitis-causing pathogens on your dairy operation. Utilizing your records, have your veterinarian recommend an intramammary tube labeled for treatment of the identified pathogens.

·         Determine length of treatment: Establish treatment duration protocols with your veterinarian depending on culture records, severity and duration of infection, and health status of the cow. Based on the Cornell University study, you may want to consider a five-day extended duration of therapy for cases of mild or moderate Gram-negative infections. Be sure to use a product labeled for extended duration of therapy (two to eight consecutive days of treatment).

·         Complete the full course of therapy: Even if milk returns to normal and cows appear to be cured, complete the full course of treatment prescribed by your veterinarian. A clinical cure is not the same as a bacteriological, or complete, cure, and extended duration of therapy often is necessary to achieve a complete cure and helps reduce the chance of relapse.

By using new information on effective treatment methods and targeting bacteria with appropriate therapies, you can limit the adverse affects of Gram-negative mastitis on cow health, milk quality and production, and profitability on your dairy.

Visit to get practical applications for your mastitis treatment protocols, as well as gain insights on how to implement extended duration of therapy protocols on your dairy operation.


1 Schukken YH, Bennett GJ, Zurakowski MJ, et al. Randomized Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of a 5-day Ceftiofur Hydrochloride Intramammary Treatment on Nonsevere Gram-negative Clinical Mastitis. J Dairy Sci 2011;94(12):6203-6215.

2 Erskine RJ, Eberhart RJ, Hutchinson LJ, Spencer SB, Campbell MA. Incidence and types of clinical mastitis in dairy herds with high and low somatic cell counts. J Am Vet Assoc 1988;192(6):761-765.