New Zealand veterinary journal

Clinical and bacteriological response to treatment of clinical mastitis with one of three intramammary antibiotics.

PMID 17676080


To compare the proportions of clinical and bacteriological cure of glands of dairy cows diagnosed with clinical mastitis, following treatment with one of three different intramammary antibiotic preparations. Cows from dairy cow herds (n=28) across New Zealand which were diagnosed with clinical mastitis in one or more glands at any stage of lactation were randomly assigned at the cow level within sequentially presented groups of three animals to be treated with one of three intramammary antibiotics. The treatments were 1 g procaine penicillin, 0.25 g cefuroxime, and a combination of 1 g procaine penicillin and 0.5 g dihydrostreptomycin (DHS). All treatments were infused on three occasions at 12-hourly intervals. Duplicate milk samples were collected for bacteriology before initial treatment, and 21-42 days later. Logistic regression or generalised linear mixed models were used to analyse the proportion of cows or quarters retreated for mastitis within 30 days of initial treatment ('clinical treatment failure'), and the proportion of glands from which bacteria were isolated initially but from which the same bacterial species was not re-isolated ('bacteriological cure'). The annual herd average cumulative incidence rate of clinical mastitis was 12.7 cases/100 cows. The incidence rate was higher in young (2-year-old) and old (> or = 9-year-old) cows relative to 3- and 4-year-old cows, and was higher in Friesian than Jersey or crossbred cows. Streptococcus uberis was the pathogen most commonly isolated, and its relative prevalence declined with time postpartum. Cows treated with cefuroxime were more likely (p<0.01) to be re-treated for clinical mastitis in the 30 days after initial treatment than cows treated with procaine penicillin or procaine penicillin and DHS. Bacteriological cure occurred in 74% of treated glands and there was no difference in the proportion of cures among the treatments (p=0.4). The proportion of cures was lower when treatment occurred 28-72 days after calving (p<0.01) and if a major pathogen was isolated (p<0.001). There was no benefit in terms of clinical or bacteriological cure rate in treating clinical mastitis cases with the combination of procaine penicillin and DHS compared to treatment with procaine penicillin alone. The proportion of clinical mastitis cases re-treated differed among herds, and more cows treated with cefuroxime were retreated within 30 days of initial treatment. However, the bacteriological cure proportion was the same among the treatments. Cure proportions were lower in cows from which major mastitis pathogens were isolated and when treatment commenced 28-72 days after calving.