Investigation of the association between the interval from internal teat sealant administration to calving and early lactation clinical mastitis in New Zealand dairy heifers

Investigation of the association between the interval from internal teat sealant administration to calving and early lactation clinical mastitis in New Zealand dairy heifers
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIMS: To examine the association between the interval from internal teat sealant (ITS) administration to calving and the incidence of farmer-recorded clinical mastitis in the first 30 days of lactation in pasture-based dairy heifers.

METHODS: Heifers that were administered an ITS by a single veterinary business in the South Island of New Zealand over the winter of 2014 were enrolled in a cross-sectional observational study. ITS was administered to all heifers on each participating farm on a single calendar day. The dates of calving and farmer-diagnosed clinical mastitis were recorded by farm staff. The interval from ITS administration to calving was categorised into four approximately evenly sized groups: <35, 35–48, 49–69 and >69 days. The quartile of the farm’s calving period in which each heifer calved was also investigated as a potential confounding variable. A hierarchical logistic regression model was constructed to determine the association between the interval from ITS administration to calving with the odds of clinical mastitis in the first 30 days of lactation.

RESULTS: Analysis was performed on 7,126 eligible heifers from 31 farms, with ITS administered between 9 May and 11 July 2014. The mean interval from ITS administration to calving was 52.9 (SD 24.4, min 1, max 137) days. Clinical mastitis was diagnosed in 420/7,126 (5.9 (95% CI=5.4–6.5)%) heifers between calving and day 30 of lactation. In the final multivariable model, which included calving period quartile, interval from ITS administration to calving was not associated with the odds of clinical mastitis (p=0.516). Compared to an interval from ITS administration to calving of <35 days, the adjusted OR of clinical mastitis for intervals of 35–48, 49–69 and >69 days were 0.83 (95% CI=0.59–1.17), 0.71 (95% CI=0.45–1.11) and 0.68 (95% CI=0.36–1.29), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Within the range of intervals from ITS administration to calving observed in this study, there was no association with the odds of clinical mastitis in the first 30 days of lactation in dairy heifers. This study suggests that veterinary clinics may be able to extend their ITS administration service and treat dairy heifers earlier than the current recommendation of approximately 4 weeks before the planned start of calving.


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