Mastitis and antimicrobials
Mastitis control, including dry cow therapy (DCT), accounts for about 85 percent of the antibiotics used on dairy farms. Lactating antibiotics and dry cow antibiotics are used for mastitis control. Preventative use of dry cow antibiotics (i.e. whole herd or blanket DCT), whereby every cow receives antibiotic therapy at the end of lactation, is no longer supported unless specifically recommended by the herd’s veterinarian as part of a herd animal health plan.
On many farms, good management practices and targeted treatment of animals with either Internal Teat Sealants (ITS) or a combination of ITS and DCT will result in great milk quality outcomes, without unnecessary antibiotic use. Talk to your veterinarian about your mastitis control plan.
Measuring drug use on farm
In New Zealand, all antimicrobial and pain relief used by farmers is under veterinary stewardship. To monitor drug usage within WelFarm we utilise the sales information directly from the vet clinic. As different drugs are sold in different volumes and at different concentrations we need to standardise the measures to create an easy method for comparisons and benchmarking.
PCU: Population correction unit
PCU stands for population correction unit, it is an estimate of the total liveweight (or biomass) of the animals that could be exposed to the antimicrobial.
One method of measuring antimicrobial use is to divide the amount of active ingredient in milligrams by the total liveweight (PCU) for the herd or population. This gives us a comparative figure to assess usage between farms and seasons.
But this approach doesn’t take into account the varying doses between antibiotics so there are limitations when it comes to understanding the quantities of product and number of treatments administered.
ADD: Average daily dose
ADD stands for average daily dose, which uses the amount of drug given for a 24 hour period. It tells us how many days of treatment can be given from a container of product.
This is a useful measure to compare between products and is used to assess the use of pain relief on farm within WelFarm.