About Dairy Wellness

Demystifying mastitis treatment
Posted by Bradley Mills

Achieving a clinical cure is half the battle of mastitis. Producers and veterinarians need flexible, effective treatment options, which not only knock out physical mastitis symptoms but dig deeper to help eliminate mastitis-causing bacteria.

Lately, there has been some industry noise creating confusion about which mastitis pathogens to treat and how long to treat them. It makes you question what’s fact and what’s fiction. We’re here to separate myth from fact:  

Myth: You need to wait for culture results before treating mastitis.
Fact: With a broad-spectrum antibiotic, you can start treatment now, while you’re waiting for culture results.

Myth: A one-day mastitis treatment is just as effective in achieving a bacteriological cure as a five-day treatment.
Fact: A one-day mastitis treatment may clear up the clinical signs of infection, but if it doesn’t knock out all the bacteria in the udder, it’s just a temporary fix. Dr. Ynte Schukken’s (Cornell University) non-inferiority study compared the bacteriological cure rates of a one-day mastitis treatment with two doses of cephapirin sodium given 12 hours apart to a five-day treatment with one dose of SPECTRAMAST® LC (ceftiofur hydrochloride) Sterile Suspension given every 24 hours. The study demonstrated that the five-day treatment was more effective than the one-day treatment at achieving a complete bacteriological cure.1

Myth: You shouldn’t need to treat gram-negative mastitis.
Fact: Gram-negative pathogens are prevalent on dairies and can diminish milk production. A five-day treatment of SPECTRAMAST LC resulted in significant bacteriological cure rates – 89% cure rate compared with only 53% for untreated controls.2

Myth: You can save more money with a shorter treatment.
Fact: An incomplete cure can lead to relapses and chronically infected cows, which can cost as much as $304 in re-treatment costs, including labor, lost milk, reproductive loss and early culling.3

Myth: Using longer treatment duration is an irresponsible use of antibiotics.
Fact: When you achieve a bacteriological cure the first time, you limit the need for re-treatment and using additional antibiotics.  

It’s time to blow the chalk dust off the old-school way of thinking that you can obtain a complete bacteriological cure after just two days of treatment. Your best option is choosing a mastitis treatment that covers a broad range of mastitis-causing pathogens, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative, that also has a flexible label.

Work with your veterinarian to develop proper mastitis treatment protocols on your dairy with an eye on a cure, not just a treatment.


IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: People with known hypersensitivity to penicillin or cephalosporins should avoid exposure to SPECTRAMAST LC. Product requires a 72-hour milk discard period and a 2 day pre-slaughter withdrawal period following the last treatment. Use of this product in a manner other than indicated on the label, or failure to adhere to proper milk discard period, will result in violative residues. For full Prescribing Information, click here.

1 Schukken YH, Zurakowski MJ, Rauch BJ, Gross B, Tikofsky LL, Welcome FL. Noninferiority trial comparing a first-generation cephalosporin with a third-generation cephalosporin in the treatment of nonsevere clinical mastitis in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2013;96(10):6763-6774.
2 Gillespie BA, Moorehead H, Lunn P, et al. Efficacy of extended pirlimycin hydrochloride therapy for treatment of environmental Streptococcus spp and Staphylococcus aureus intrammamary infections in lactating dairy cows. Vet Ther 2002;3(4):373-380.
3  Bar D, Tauer LW, Bennett G, et al. Use of a dynamic programming model to estimate the value of clinical mastitis treatment and prevention options utilized by dairy producers. Agric Syst 2008;99(1):6-12.


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