Effects of a mastitis treatment strategy with or without on-farm testing

Karien Griffioen, Annet G J Velthuis, Gerrit Koop, Theo J G M Lam

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The etiology of mastitis is crucial information to use antimicrobials prudently for control and treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of mastitis diagnosis and treatment strategies with on-farm testing, on cure, new intramammary infections (IMI), somatic cell count (SCC), and antimicrobial use, compared with farmers' current diagnosis and treatment strategies. The on-farm tests used, CHROMagar Mastitis (CHROMagar, Paris, France) and Minnesota Easy Culture System II Tri-plate (University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN), both had etiological groups of IMI as result, being gram-positive growth, gram-negative growth, or culture negative. Two randomized controlled trials were conducted on 15 herds: trial 1 prospectively enrolled 155 cows with clinical mastitis, and trial 2 cross-sectionally included 78 cows with subclinical mastitis. In both trials, cows were randomly distributed over 3 equal-sized groups: a test group using CHROMagar, a test group using Minnesota, and a control group not using on-farm tests. Farmers decided whether or not to treat, and which antimicrobial treatment would be applied, using information available on the day of enrollment (control group), complemented with the on-farm test result 1 d after enrollment (both test groups). For clinical mastitis, an antimicrobial treatment was given in 58% of cases that used CHROMagar, in 80% that used Minnesota, and in 86% of the controls. For subclinical mastitis, an antimicrobial treatment was given in 50% of cases that used CHROMagar, in 54% that used Minnesota, and in 4% of the controls. Bacteriological cure rate of clinical mastitis was lowest in the CHROMagar group [odds ratio 0.18 (95%CI 0.03-0.99)] compared with the controls. Using the Minnesota on-farm test for subclinical mastitis diagnosis and treatments resulted in fewer new IMI on d 21 [odds ratio 0.06 (95%CI 0.00-0.74)] compared with the controls. Clinical cure rate, percentage of new IMI, and SCC on d 21 of clinical mastitis were comparable among the groups. Using on-farm tests in farmers' decision-making process resulted in more treatments in accordance with the etiology of mastitis than without on-farm testing. A diagnosis and treatment strategy with on-farm testing is advised in cows with clinical mastitis to enhance prudent antimicrobial use. For subclinical mastitis, however, on-farm testing may lead to an unacceptable increase in use of antimicrobials and thus should not be advised as the common approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4665-4681
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • dairy cattle
  • mastitis
  • on-farm test
  • prudent antimicrobial use
  • treatment strategy


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