Mastitis is a frustrating disease that has challenged dairy producers for as long as cows have been milked. But now, new research is changing protocols to more effectively manage this longstanding and costly problem.

Linda Tikofsky, DVM, Professional Services Veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. says it pays to be strategic about which cases of mastitis actually will respond to treatment. A recent, large mastitis study by researchers at Cornell University showed that only 38 percent of clinical mastitis cases were caused by Gram-positive organisms, which are the type of bacteria that are most likely to respond to antibiotic therapy.

“Using antibiotics to treat every case of clinical mastitis represents an overuse of drugs and wasted financial resources,” says Tikofsky. “It is worthwhile for dairies to invest the time and financial resources in culturing clinical mastitis cases to determine whether treatment is warranted at all. This more targeted approach to treating means lower drug costs; less milk withholding; lower chances of creating violative drug residues in milk, and less overall antibiotic use.”

To learn more about mastitis prevention and treatment, visit