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Thursday 21 September 2017

Mastitis cases can cost up to €300 per cow

Tommy Heffernan

Tommy Heffernan

Anyone milking cows will tell you the first 30 days after calving can be a real risk time for clinical mastitis.

It is inevitable there will be some cases, however we must again investigate the problem if we see anything over 5-6pc affected.

Mastitis at this time will often be clinical with cows getting sick and requiring various types of treatments and interventions.

These cases have been conservatively estimated to cost between €250 and €300 per case. This is mostly down to lost production.

There is also potential for toxic or ecoli mastitis which can ultimately lead in some cases to cows dying.

I will always get people to assess cell count SCC after calving also, it will often give a very good indication of infections cured or potentially picked up during the dry period.

An increase in mastitis in the first 30 days calved will often point us in one or two directions.

Definitely the first stop might be the dry cow period and housing/hygiene.

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Teat dip

Where you are seeing an increase in heifers I sometimes recommend bringing heifers through the parlour once daily for 7-10 days before calving. This allows heifers acclimatise to the parlour and also allows the application of post teat dip which can reduce infections after calving.

When we see an increase in mastitis in first 30 days calved, we should always look at anything that would be suppressing immunity that might lead to an increase in intramammary infections.

We also need to critically assess the environment especially when we see an increase in clinical (sick cows) mastitis.

We must try minimising the potential for the environment to be contributing by honing in and focusing on hygiene in dry cow accommodation and especially in housed milkers.

Due to the fact that mastitis is such a big topic this piece is more to get people to reflect on the acceptable levels of new infections in freshly calved cows.

There are many actions that might be taken once an issue is discovered.

Tommy Heffernan runs a veterinary practice in Avondale, Co Wicklow

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