New research has shown that treating mild cases of clinical mastitis in cows with Metacam alongside antibiotic therapy can reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) and cut the risk of treated cows being culled.
New research has shown that treating mild cases of clinical mastitis in cows with the anti-inflammatory injection Metacam (meloxicam) alongside antibiotic therapy (penethamate hydriodide – Mamyzin) can reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) and cut the risk of treated cows being culled.
In the largest study of its kind, carried out across 15 commercial dairy farms throughout New Zealand, cows receiving Metacam at the start of mastitis treatment showed a statistically significant reduction in post-treatment quarter SCC levels.
The average in the Metacam group was 550,000 cells/ml compared to 711,000 cells/ml for the control group, representing a 23% reduction in overall SCC.
The trial also demonstrated that using Metacam alongside antibiotic therapy, resulted in the risk of culling falling from 28.2% to 16.4% – a 42% reduction in the culling rate.
A total of 11,163 cows were screened in the 15 herds studied, 727 cows were diagnosed with mild clinical mastitis during the first 200 days of lactation, totalling 904 infected quarters, and were enrolled in the trial.
The standard treatment for all cases was a three-day course of intramuscular antibiotic injections of penethamate hydriodide. Severe cases of mastitis, that is those resulting in systemic changes such as a fever, were excluded to ensure the study assessed the mild clinical mastitis most commonly seen on-farm.
Previous studies have shown that cows diagnosed with clinical mastitis are more likely to be culled for all reasons (not just SCC or mastitis), and typically have lower conception rates, more services per conception and longer calving-to-conception intervals.
One of the trial’s authors, Mark Bryan, also assessed the financial implications of these benefits for farmers based on UK farm data and prices. Using a partial budget, he calculated that for each case of mastitis there was a £58 financial benefit when treatment included Metacam, compared to antibiotics used alone.