Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Vet labs record changes in mastitis type

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Mastitis culture results reported from Regional Veterinary Laboratories in the first quarter of 2017 have revealed higher findings of a less common strain of mastitis bacteria.

According to official Department of Agriculture figures, a higher relative frequency of Streptococcus uberis isolations compared to Staphylococcus aureus was found.

It said this is an ‘interesting development’ considering that Strep. uberis has become the leading cause of clinical and subclinical mastitis in New Zealand dairy herds over the last 20 years.

While, it warned that these results represent only three months of data, it also said that it is notable that increasing frequency of detection of this environmental pathogen in other countries among clinical cases has been associated with higher stocking rates and widespread use of calving and feed pads; higher yielding cows and those fed concentrate-based transition diets are also believed to be at increased risk.

It is possible that this finding is reflective of some of the current changes in the Irish dairy sector, it said.

Favourable weather

The Department report said January was drier than normal this year which, when combined with a marginally warmer average temperature, made for favourable conditions on ‘out-wintered’ livestock.

Overall carcase submission rates were lower (11.6%) than Q1 2016 which was primarily attributable to a decrease in sheep carcase submissions.

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Among bovine submissions alimentary tract conditions were most frequently diagnosed in all ages with the exception of animals aged between 3 and 12 months among which respiratory disease was most frequently recorded.

Cases of intestinal atresia (complete blockage or obstruction anywhere in the intestine) continue to be recorded with relative frequency. As this is a condition recognised at, or shortly after birth, the peak occurrence is typically recorded during this quarter.

The Department also reported that results of ZST analyses from the RVLs continue to show an encouraging trend of improved colostrum management on Irish farms.

In this quarter, 62% (55% in Q1 2016) of animals tested were found to have evidence of adequate colostral transfer of maternal immunity (ZST score >20 units).

As poor colostrum management has been frequently idenitifed as a contributor to neonatal disease and mortality, this evidence of improved management is to be welcomed, the Department report said.

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