Antibiotic use reduced with on-farm mastitis culturing programs

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A new multi-state, multi-herd clinical trial confirms that on-farm mastitis culturing programs work to guide strategic treatment decisions for cows with clinical mastitis. The findings were published in the September 2011 Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada conducted the study on eight commercial dairy farms that ranged in size from 144 cows to 1,795 cows. A total of 422 cows affected with mild or moderate clinical mastitis in 449 quarters were randomly assigned to either a control treatment program or an on-farm, culture-based treatment program.

Quarters in the control program received immediate on-label intramammary treatment with cephapirin sodium. Quarters in the culture program were cultured on-farm and treated with cephapirin sodium after 18 to 24 hours of incubation if they had gram-positive growth or a mixed infection. Quarters with gram-negative results or no growth did not receive intramammary therapy.

Trials results indicate that the use of an on-farm culture program to guide the strategic treatment of clinical mastitis reduced intramammary antibiotic use by half and tended to decrease milk withholding time by one day without significant differences in days to a clinical cure, bacteriological cure risk, new intramammary infection risk and treatment failure risk 21 days after the clinical mastitis event.

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