Article Text

The cost of summer mastitis
  1. JE Hillerton,
  2. JG West and
  3. MF Shearn

Abstract

The incidence of summer mastitis on 95 dairy farms in southern England was monitored in the summer of 1987. Data on the type of animal infected, the fate of the animals immediately and over the succeeding lactation, and the procedures used in treating the infections were collected for 144 cases. Twenty-five per cent of cases were attended by veterinary surgeons. Most of the animals received parenteral antibiotics and on average each received five tubes of intramammary antibiotic. The incidence of infection was highest in pregnant and calving heifers, more than 2 per cent of the animals at risk, and lowest (0.04 per cent) in calves, although more than twice as many dry cows were infected. Over half of the farms reported summer mastitis, with 36 per cent suffering more than one case. The greatest economic loss, 49 per cent of the total, was from lost milk production; and 37 per cent was from lost animal value, cull and calf losses. The average loss was 192 pounds per case. Using national incidence data from England and Wales, the cost to the UK dairy industry in 1987 was 6.22 million pounds.

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