Use of partial budgeting to determine the economic benefits of antibiotic treatment of chronic subclinical mastitis caused by Streptococcus uberis or Streptococcus dysgalactiae

J M Swinkels, J G Rooijendijk, R N Zadoks, H Hogeveen

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The economic effect of lactational antibiotic treatment of chronic subclinical intramammary infections due to Streptococcus uberis or Streptococcus dysgalactiae was explored by means of partial budgeting. Effects at cow level and herd level were modelled, including prevention of clinical mastitis episodes and the prevention of transmission of infections. Input variables for our deterministic model were derived from literature or based on 2002/2003 dairy prices and farming conditions in The Netherlands. Sensitivity analysis was used to examine the effect of uncertainty around input variables or changes in price estimates. On farms where pathogen transmission was prevented through proper udder health management, 3-d antibiotic treatment during lactation resulted in an average net profit of euro+ 11.62 over no treatment while 8-d antibiotic treatment had an average negative net result of euro- 21.83. Sensitivity analysis showed that profitability depends on the probability of treatment-induced cure, pathogen transmission rates, culling rate, retention pay-off, and costs of antibiotic treatment. Three-day antibiotic treatment of chronic subclinical streptococcal mastitis is economically profitable over a range of input values for cure probabilities, transmission rates and losses due to culling. In contrast, 8-d lactational treatment is only profitable for very valuable animals, on farms where the risk of pathogen transmission is high and/or when the farmer is likely to cull a high percentage of cows with subclinical mastitis. Because bacterial flora, cow characteristics and management differ widely between farms, the economic outcome of lactational treatment of chronic subclinical streptococcal mastitis may be highly farm-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

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