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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Author(s): Firth, CL; Laubichler, C; Schleicher, C; Fuchs, K; Käsbohrer, A; Egger-Danner, C; Köfer, J; Obritzhauser, W

Title: Relationship between the probability of veterinary-diagnosed bovine mastitis occurring and farm management risk factors on small dairy farms in Austria.

Source: J Dairy Sci. 2019; 102(5):4452-4463



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Firth Clair
Käsbohrer Annemarie
Köfer Josef

Vetmed Research Units
Unit of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology


Project(s): Advancement of Dairying in Austria


Abstract:
Bovine mastitis is the most frequently reported disease among dairy cows worldwide. Treatment of udder disease often involves the use of antimicrobial substances, which is difficult to justify with respect to their possible effect on the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Prevention of udder disease is therefore always preferable to treatment. The study presented here statistically analyzed the probability of mastitis occurring during 3,049 lactation periods on 208 farms and attempted to ascertain which on-farm management factors contributed to the occurrence of this udder disease in Austria. Farm management was assessed via online surveys completed by 211 farmers (211/251; response rate = 84.1%) as well as national milk performance recorders observing milking technique and herd veterinarians evaluating farm hygiene levels. Veterinary treatment records were used as a basis for mastitis reporting. The analysis was carried out using a generalized linear mixed model. The study population was not randomized but was part of a larger observational study. More than three fourths of the study farms were run conventionally, and the remainder were organic. Freestalls (and straw yards) made up 66% of the study population, and 34% of farms had tiestalls. Herd size ranged from 8 to 94 dairy cows (mean = 26.9; median = 21), with the most common breed (74% of all cows) being dual-purpose Simmental (Austrian Fleckvieh). A mastitis risk of 14.4% was reported via veterinary treatment records. The following factors were shown to be associated with a reduction in the risk of mastitis occurring: regular access to pasture (odds ratio, OR = 0.73), automatic milking machine shut-off (OR 0.67), and access to feed immediately after milking (OR = 0.43). Detrimental effects, which were likely to increase the probability of mastitis occurring, included lactation number (OR = 1.18), farming part time (OR = 1.55), and udders on the farm being classed by herd veterinarians as medium to severely soiled (OR = 1.47). The study presented here was able to confirm several management factors recommended to reduce the probability of mastitis occurring during a cow"s lactation period, with particular relevance for the small dairy herds common to Austria.


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