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Effect of disinfecting teats post-milking or pre- and post-milking on intramammary infection and somatic cell count

Authors: Williamson JH, Lacy-Hulbert SJ
Publication: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 262-268, Sep 2013
Publisher: Taylor and Francis


AIMS: To determine the effects of (a) post-milking teat disinfection compared with no disinfection and (b) pre- and post-milking teat disinfection compared with post-milking disinfection alone, on the incidence of new intramammary infection (IMI), somatic cell count (SCC) and teat skin abnormalities in dairy cows.

METHODS: In Experiment 1, dairy cows in five dairy herds were randomly allocated to a post-milking teat disinfection group (n=230), that was sprayed with an iodine-based disinfectant (TeatguardPlus) for a complete lactation, or to a non-disinfected group (n=239). In Experiment 2, cows were randomly allocated to post-milking teat disinfection (n=239) or both pre- and post-milking teat disinfection (n=235), using a chloramine-T-based disinfectant (Teatsweet) for both treatments, from calving to 118–127 days in milk. The incidence of new IMI was determined by aseptic sampling of all quarters at calving, during lactation, and at trial end or at drying-off, with clinical mastitis cases sampled on detection. SCC and teat skin abnormalities were measured at 2-monthly intervals during lactation. In both experiments, disinfectant was applied by spray application.

RESULTS: Cows that received post-milking teat disinfection had a lower incidence of new IMI caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis, Corynebacterium spp and coagulase negative staphylococci, had lower bulk milk SCC during lactation, and had fewer teat skin abnormalities compared with the non-disinfected cows (p < 0.05).

Pre-milking teat disinfection, in addition to post-milking teat disinfection, did not reduce the incidence of new IMI for any pathogens and did not reduce SCC (p> 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Post-milking teat disinfection applied as a spray is a key component in mastitis control in New Zealand. There was no benefit from the addition of pre-milking disinfection.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study confirms previous findings of the effectiveness of post-milking teat disinfection in reducing the incidence of IMI caused by the common mastitis-causing pathogens in New Zealand, and presents the first results of a controlled study examining pre-milking teat spraying undertaken in New Zealand commercial dairy herds.

KEY WORDS: Mastitis, bovine, teat disinfection, pre-milking, teat condition, teat spray
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