Improving Udder Health… 

While mastitis incidence on British dairy farms has been improving with an overall reduction of 15-20% in the 2013- 2020 period (Cattle Health and Welfare Group, 2020), it continues to be one of the most costly and prevalent diseases affecting the national herd. 

With an average 30% incidence (AHDB sentinel herds, 2018) and an estimated £244 cost per case (Kingshay, 2021), the welfare and economic impact can be severe. 

This cost is unevenly distributed across farms. Some businesses achieving an incidence below 20% while many are experiencing over 50 cases per 100 cows per year, with some 

Mastitis cure rate is variable, depending on cell count prior to detection, duration and type of treatment, type of pathogens involved as well as individual cow factors (age, concurrent stress or disease, teat conformation, teat damage etc). However, even in the best-case scenario, cure rates of only 60% during lactation are considered a realistic goal (AHDB, 2020), with averages around 30-50% being more common (DHHPS, 2020). The best approach to mastitis remains to prevent cows from getting mastitis in the first place. Mastitis can be broadly divided into 3 categories depending on how and when the infection occurs: 

Environmental lactation origin 

Dry period origin 

Contagious lactation 

The highest accuracy in identifying patterns is achieved in milk recording herds where both clinical mastitis and individual cell count records are available to be input into practice software for analysis. Clinical mastitis can be imported directly with milk recording data. However, even if the data has not been collected at milk recording, mastitis cases can be imported from the on-farm software or manually added from a copy of the farm medicine book. While the quality of mastitis pattern analysis is reduced for non-milk recording clients, it can still be carried out using data from some on-farm recording software. 

If the latter is not present, detailed automated analysis cannot be carried out. Albeit more time-consuming, some data analysis could still be performed based on the number of cases of mastitis, dates on which cases have occurred, calving dates 

of the affected animals and number of calvings over a specific period of time. Repeating the pattern analysis every three months will further help the farm team to monitor progress and refine the management approach over a longer period of time. 

Some herds can, for example, experience seasonality patterns, have high recurrence rates that account for many of the treated cases or have some groups of animals particularly affected by clinical mastitis (heifers being a possible one). 

Accurate recording of each mastitis case is crucial to know each farms mastitis status, identify which pattern is the most prevalent and help farmers and vets narrow down the possible causes. 

Investigations can then be specifically targeted to devise a farm-specific prevention and monitoring plan. 

Do you know what pattern is prevalent on your farm? 

If not, speak to your vet for individual farm data analysis. 

Below are some of the things we can offer to improve udder health: 

Individual farm data analysis 

Total Vet and Interherd data analysis 

AHDB Quarter-pro pattern analysis 

AHDB full Mastitis Control Plan 

Milking time parlour testing 

Static parlour testing 

Staff training 

Article by Daniel Scovenna MRCVS . 

Daniel qualified from the University of Milan in 2008. 

He has gained valuable experience during his time working in the UK (including Cambridge University) as well as in Belgium. 

He joined the Torch Farm team in 2012. 

Daniel has a keen interest in all aspects of farm animal practice. 

Thank you to all who attended our Dry Cow meetings on farm by kind permission of the Pickard & Knapman family. We discussed why implementing a selective approach to antibiotic dry cow therapy (SDCT) is important for your 

herd to reduce antibiotic usage but also to improve udder health. Pasties & a BBQ were enjoyed in the sun by all & we look forward to our next event!

Its our Birthday! To mark the occasion we would like to invite you to celebrate with us at Woolsery Show (25th July), North Devon Show (3rd August) & Holsworthy Show (25th August). 

Join us at our stand and raise a glass to the past decade and look forward to the next!