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Prevention of bovine mastitis

Hopkirk, C. S. M.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens) , ANZSRC::0707 Veterinary Sciences , ANZSRC::070203 Animal Management
Mastitis in dairy cows has for many years received attention from Veterinary scientists, more so than any other if the common diseases of cattle. The less occasioned by infection of the mammary gland has cost the dairy industry an enormous amount through loss of milk, use of antibiotics and culling of infected animals. A great deal is known about the organisms responsible for inflammatory reaction of the glandular tissue, but no completely satisfactory method for preventing invasion has yet been found, nor has the use of Streptococcal or Staphylococcal vaccines when used subcutaneously prevented or cured the infection. The use of antibiotics, commencing about 1945 for curative purposes, has only been partially successful and has been able to cure some early cases but antibiotics have not wholly eradicated mastitis in a herd nor prevented spread of infection from cow to cow. Perhaps too little work has been carried out on practical preventive methods, in the primary need to understand the action of organisms which commonly gain entrance to the gland. It would appear that some new approach to the problem must be found to cure mastitis and prevent spread. With this background, a heifer herd was assembled and added to annually to attempt to prevent spread of infection in the herd by means considered from previous work to be practical from the viewpoint of the farmer who demands the minimum in cost and labour. The following methods were put into operation: 1). Washing of teats by hand with running water. 2). Starting milk flow. 3). The use of antiseptic creams or washes after milking. 4). Jetting of cups with water. 5). Use of antibiotics (a) into infected quarters during lactation. (b) dry cow antibiotics when cows were turned out. 6). Judicious culling of cows not responding to treatment. 7). Care in introducing heifers into the shed after calving. These methods will be described in detail, based on five years trial work with the experimental dairy herd at Lincoln College.
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