How much heifer mastitis are you getting? Heifer mastitis rates are over 25% on many New Zealand farms. The cost of this mastitis was measured in a 2009 NZ study which found each case of heifer mastitis costs $197 when calculated using a $5.50 pay-out. This means that with a pay-out of $6.70, each heifer with mastitis will cost you over $200! This cost considers the treatment cost, labour for treatment, milk discarding and culling.
Mastitis infections in 2-year olds and 3-year olds will limit udder tissue formation, which will limit lifetime production. So ultimately prevention is better than cure, and the best proven way to prevent your heifers getting mastitis early in their lactating career is to use internal teat sealant (ITS). Correctly administering ITS approximately 4 weeks pre-calving results in:
84% reduction in strep. uberis infections at calving.
68% reduction in clinical mastitis in the first two weeks of lactation.
Our team at West Coast Vets teat seal over 3000 heifers each year so have got it down to quite a fine art! We prefer to do them through the shed but also have our teat seal trailer available if they are at a run-off. We carry out the job with very high hygiene standards which is very important when administering teat seal and, in a calm, confident manner with the young girls. Give us a call or discuss with our vets at dry cow consults if you have any questions.
Are you currently blanket treating with DCT at dry off? With the industry trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, we all need to be trying to reduce the use of blanket treatment of dry cow. One way to get around this and still have lower results of mastitis during calving is to use teat seal also at dry-off.
Internal teat sealants (ITS) are used to:
Protect uninfected quarters from becoming infected during the dry period.
This helps reduce the prevalence of mastitis at calving, which can lead to a decrease in clinical mastitis and lower SCC throughout the season.