Effect of dry period length on the effect of an intramammary teat sealant on the risk of mastitis in cattle treated with antibiotics at drying off

Effect of dry period length on the effect of an intramammary teat sealant on the risk of mastitis in cattle treated with antibiotics at drying off
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate, under farm conditions, the use of a teat sealant in addition to whole herd dry cow antibiotic therapy on the risk of clinical mastitis in dairy cattle at pasture, and to evaluate the impact of dry period length on that risk and the impact of the teat sealant on that risk.

METHODS: Dairy cows in three herds which used routine whole herd antibiotic therapy were randomly assigned to receive either treatment with an internal teat sealant (n=322) or no additional treatment (n=313) at drying-off between March and May 2010. All clinical mastitis cases during the dry period and to the end of the subsequent lactation were recorded by farm staff; factors affecting risk of clinical mastitis were then analysed using a Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS: Median duration of the dry period was 112 days with >25% of cows having a dry period >130 days. The incidence risk of mastitis during lactation for cows treated with teat sealant was 9.9 (95% CI=6.9–13.7) cases per 100 cows compared with 17.9 (95% CI=13.8–22.6) cases per 100 cows for cows treated with antibiotic alone. The addition of a teat sealant to dry cow antibiotic therapy decreased the risk of clinical mastitis only in the first 33 days after calving (Hazard risk 0.24 (95% CI=0.12–0.48)). Length of dry period did not significantly affect the risk of clinical mastitis, or the effect of adding teat sealant to dry cow antibiotic therapy on the risk of clinical mastitis.

CONCLUSIONS: In these herds where, based on the mastitis history, whole herd antibiotic therapy had been recommended, the use of a teat sealant significantly reduced the risk of clinical mastitis. This effect was limited to the first 33 days after calving; subsequently there was no significant effect of treatment. There was no effect of dry period length on risk of clinical mastitis, nor any significant interaction with treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Combination therapy with teat sealant and antibiotic was effective under New Zealand conditions in herds using whole herd antibiotic treatment at drying off. Teat sealant reduced risk of clinical mastitis in cattle with dry periods substantially longer than 100 days, and there was no evidence that this effect changed as dry period length increased.


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