Was the second episode also in the right rear (suggesting possible treatment failure the first time or a damaged teat end) or a different quarter? Lesion location is not recorded if treatment isn’t given when our mindset is solely on tracking drug use.
Use a single, specific term to record clinical disease
Health data-entry protocols should be established to differentiate clinical disease episodes from subclinical disease, identified by screening tests and prophylactic treatment of at-risk cows. We often find herds performing fresh-cow milk cultures will record treated culture-positive cows using the same term that is used to denote clinical mastitis (e.g., MAST). Fresh culture-positive cows that are treated should be recorded with a different term (e.g., FMAST).
Post-partum uterine health-recording practices are commonly focused on recording that a treatment was given rather than that disease occurred. Thus, when summarized, they often do not accurately represent postpartum uterine health. We see three common problems highlighted by these examples:
1) Cows that have a retained placenta recorded at three or more days in milk with a remark indicating antibiotic treatment. These cows usually have clinical metritis (abnormal uterine discharge at a minimum) and have retained fetal membranes. If retained placenta was not previously identified and recorded, a more accurate representation of this case would be to record both retained placenta and metritis. In this case, the antibiotic treatment should be associated with the metritis.
2) Retained-placenta cases at one to two days in milk are recorded as metritis so an antibiotic treatment can be given. This is most commonly encountered in herds that utilize standard treatment protocol functions (e.g., “Protocols” in Dairy COMP 305 and Rx-Plus module for DHI-Plus). In such cases, the defined retained-placenta protocols are not associated with antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic treatment and proper withdrawal times are desired so a metritis that is associated with an antibiotic protocol is recorded. If you approve antibiotic treatment of cows diagnosed with retained placenta, define a treatment protocol for it in the computer so diseases and their management can be recorded accurately.
3) Cows considered to be at-risk for metritis (i.e., those with a dystocia, twins or stillborn calf) are recorded as metritis at zero to two days in milk so an associated antibiotic treatment protocol can be implemented. Instead, treatment of at-risk cows should be recorded using a different term (e.g., RMETR) than that used to denote a cow with clinical metritis (e.g., METR).