Therapeutic effects of antimicrobial treatment during lactation of recently acquired bovine subclinical mastitis: two linked randomized field trials

B H P van den Borne, G van Schaik, T J G M Lam, M Nielen
Journal of Dairy Science 2010, 93 (1): 218-33
Two linked randomized field trials were performed on 39 herds in the Netherlands to 1) determine therapeutic effects of antimicrobial treatment of recently acquired subclinical mastitis (RASCM) during lactation, 2) evaluate the effect of duration of subclinical mastitis on therapeutic outcome, and 3) identify factors related to the therapeutic success of RASCM. Cows with a first elevated composite somatic cell count (CSCC) after 2 consecutive low CSCC measurements were eligible for enrollment in trial 1 (treatment at the first elevated CSCC). Quarter milk samples were collected to determine bacteriological status for major pathogens and coagulase-negative staphylococci. Cows with one or more culture-positive quarters with a quarter somatic cell count (QSCC) >or=100,000 cells/mL were defined to have RASCM and were randomly assigned treatment or control (no treatment). Untreated cows from trial 1 that had a second elevated CSCC at the next milk recording were eligible for enrollment in trial 2 (treatment at the second elevated CSCC). In trial 2, staphylococci-positive cows (Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci) were randomly assigned to treatment or control. Farmers used their own treatment protocols to treat quarters in both trials. Bacteriological cure was defined as absence of the pathogen identified pre-intervention in 2 samples post-intervention; QSCC, CSCC, and milk yield were also analyzed. Hierarchical logistic and linear models were used to determine therapeutic effects and to identify factors related to therapy outcome. Treated quarters had a higher bacteriological cure rate than control quarters for all pathogens in both trials. Treatment resulted in lower QSCC and CSCC, whereas milk yield was not affected by treatment. Bacteriological cure of RASCM was better in quarters with a low QSCC pre-intervention and in coagulase-negative staphylococci-positive quarters. Control quarters with a single culture-positive sample pre-intervention also had a higher bacteriological cure than control quarters with >or=2 culture-positive samples. Time of antimicrobial treatment affected bacteriological cure for penicillin-sensitive Staph. aureus. Bacteriological cure tended to be higher for Staph. aureus after treatment at the first elevated CSCC compared with treatment at the second elevated CSCC. Thus, early treatment of Staph. aureus might be more effective than later treatment.

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