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A review of prevention and control of heifer mastitis via non-antibiotic strategies

Clinical and subclinical mastitis is a significant problem in first lactation dairy cattle, resulting in substantial financial losses. Mastitis is a multifactorial disease and numerous risk factors and management strategies have been identified to reduce heifer mastitis. This study reviewed various intervention studies that have assessed non-antibiotic management options to reduce the prevalence of intramammary infections (IMI) in dairy heifers. Poor environmental hygiene increases the risk for IMI while interventions such as increased pasture rotation, adequate bedding and frequent bedding changes reduce mastitis. Application of iodine dips pre-calving have had varying success in reducing IMI; however, the used of internal and external teat sealants decreased the prevalence of post-partum mastitis. Other management intervention such as fly control (both chemical and through integrated pest management), control of cross-suckling and separating older cows from heifers were beneficial. Controlling udder edema significantly reduces IMI. An integrated management approach to control heifer mastitis must be applied to each situation.


McDougall, S. et al., 2009. A review of prevention and control of heifer mastitis via non-antibiotic strategies. Vet. Microbiol. 134 (1-2):177-185