MSU analyzes economics of mastitis treatment

Researchers at Michigan State University are studying how farmers can reduce the cost of treatment for the most common disease in dairy cattle. 

Dr. Pam Ruegg with the College of Veterinary Medicine analyzed how nearly 50,000 dairy cows with non-severe cases of clinical mastitis were treated.

“On the 37 farms, which averaged about 1,300 cows per farm, the cost ranged from about $120 out of pocket per cow per case of mastitis, up to $330—so threefold difference,” she says.

She tells Brownfield the prices across antibiotic products are very comparable, but milk discard accounts for nearly 80 percent of out-of-pocket costs for farmers.

“What we realized was each additional day of treatment that people use costs about $65 per day on average,” she explains.  “One of the things that we can do is make sure that we are following labels of the intramammary products and not treating longer than we need to treat.

Ruegg says the costs can add up fast with dairy farms averaging about 25 cases of mastitis per 100 cows each year.

“Maybe you can cut off one or two days of duration of treatment and save yourself about $130 a case,” she suggests.

Ruegg says additional research is planned to study the economics of nontreatment strategies for mastitis.

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