Long term effects of mastitits control programmes in a dairy herd
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Mastitis is a poly-factorial disease of dairy herds. The pathogens infect the animal by invading the udder and causing inflammation of the tissue. This results in deterioration of the quality and quantity of milk. These changes in the milk are reflected in the economical losses of the farmers’ income. Among the most frequently occurring pathogens that can cause mastitis are the contagious forms which include Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae. These pathogens are transmitted from one cow to another mainly at the milking parlour. The environmental pathogens which include Streptococcus uberis, E. Coli and Klebsiella spp. are present in the environment of the animals, therefore infection is possible in case of inadequate hygienic conditions of the barn. Mastitis plays a major role in economical losses on dairy herds, especially subclinical mastitis which is difficult to detect. Chronic and recurrent infections may result from unsuccessful treatment or from low hygienic standards in the dairy unit. These are also major problems related to the disease. The form and course of the disease is determined by the hygiene of the barn and milking parlour, the kind of pathogens and the response of the animal to treatment. Many factors are involved in the pathogenesis of mastitis. The course of the disease may differ from one farm to another; therefore each farm investigation must be carried out separately. By identifying the pathogens involved in the mastitis in the herd, an appropriate antibiotic treatment can be selected. A mastitis control programme can be put in place to eliminate existing infections and prevent further infections. This programme includes suggestions for improvement of hygiene and frequent examination of the animals. This control programme is aimed at the early diagnosis of the disease, prevention of the disease transmission to healthy cows and it contributes to a high standard of milk quality in a dairy herd. During the study at Selice it was observed how the SCC cell count decreased when there was a continuous examination carried out on the herd and a mastitis control programme was put in place. When the farm management chose not to have the continuous observation of Dr. Peter Kovacs the SCC began to increase. This highlights the importance of the mastitis control programmes and the involvement of the expertise of the veterinarian in this field.