About Dairy Wellness

Focus on mastitis care
Posted by Dan Funke

Mastitis is a common and expensive disease. It can add up to nearly $200 per clinical case due to decreased milk production, lower milk quality premiums, treatment expenses, and increased culling and death.1 The cost and inconvenience of mastitis is further magnified if a treated cow relapses with a recurring infection.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to re-treat a cow for mastitis. Mastitis therapy is an investment in labor, treatment costs and milk discard, and treatment decisions must be made in the best interest of the animal’s health and well-being. Dairy producers should utilize the course of treatment that offers the best chance of a complete cure the first time.

Below are a few tips I’ve used with clients for treating mastitis with a successful outcome: 

  • Consult your veterinarian: Work with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate mastitis therapy and duration of treatment to help achieve a bacteriological cure, thereby eliminating the infection, not just the symptoms. An extended-therapy protocol — defined as administering intramammary treatment for two to eight days — often can increase the likelihood of a complete cure. SPECTRAMAST® LC (ceftiofur hydrochloride) Sterile Suspension is the only mastitis treatment product labeled for up to eight days of therapy. It helps cure mastitis with broad-spectrum coverage against modern pathogens, including Escherichia coli (E. coli).
  • Tailor treatment: Treatment protocols should be based on the cow’s treatment history; length of the infection; and cow age, health status and lactation stage. It’s also important to identify the pathogen causing the mastitis infection. With this information, your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate mastitis product and protocol. Using a product labeled for extended therapy, your veterinarian can tailor treatment duration to the individual case. For example, eight days of treatment may be recommended for hard-to-kill mastitis pathogens.
  • Complete treatment protocol: Dairy producers often discontinue treatment when milk returns to normal and clinical signs of the infection subside. Be sure to complete the prescribed treatment regimen to help ensure that the infection is eliminated. 

Extended therapy can help you properly treat the cow the first time, reducing the chance of relapse and cost of treatment failure. It is the best thing we can do for the cow, and your bottom line.

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. See full Prescribing Information, here.

1 Salfer J. Preventing early lactation mastitis. Univ. of Minnesota Extension. Available at: Accessed September 26, 2013.


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