Mastitis control services and utilization of milk somatic cell count data by veterinarians in Ohio

W. D. Hueston From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hueston, Hoblet, Miller) and Dairy Science (Eastridge), College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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K. H. Hoblet From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hueston, Hoblet, Miller) and Dairy Science (Eastridge), College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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G. Y. Miller From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hueston, Hoblet, Miller) and Dairy Science (Eastridge), College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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M. L. Eastridge From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hueston, Hoblet, Miller) and Dairy Science (Eastridge), College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary

A telephone survey was conducted of 50 randomly selected Ohio-licensed veterinarians engaged in dairy practice. The survey's purpose was to determine the extent of mastitis control services offered by practitioners and to assess their utilization of milk somatic cell count (scc) data on individual cows available from the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA). During the preceding year, 96% (48/50) of practitioners surveyed had performed bacteriologic culture of milk samples. Practitioners were twice as likely to have performed culture on milk from mastitic cows that failed to respond to treatment as they were to have performed culture for purposes of identifying pathogen trends within a herd. Veterinarians in predominantly dairy practices were more likely to have completed bacteriologic examination of milk in their own laboratories than were veterinarians who were engaged in <50% dairy practice (P = 0.016). Most veterinarians (83%) reported that coagulase test results were available or that Staphylococcus aureus was differentiated from other staphylococcal species. Streptococcus agalactiae was not differentiated from other streptococcal species by 35% of practitioners surveyed.

For veterinarians with clients enrolled in the dhia, 91% (43/47) reported looking at, discussing, or otherwise using the dhia records. Eighty-one percent (35/43) of veterinarians who had clients using services from the dhia reported that clients also received individual cow milk scc results. Veterinarians engaged in predominantly dairy practice expressed a greater familiarity with the linear score method of scc reporting than did veterinarians whose practices were <50% dairy (P = 0.085); however, both groups reported a preference for raw scc data. Veterinarian response regarding potential use of dhia scc data was compared with that obtained in a companion survey of Ohio dairy producers. Veterinarians were more likely than producers to consider use of scc from individual cows to select cows for culture and to establish a milking order. Although several results of our survey indicated current high veterinary involvement in mastitis control and dhia record utilization, other trends supported concerns regarding the future of veterinarian involvement in food animal health management.

Summary

A telephone survey was conducted of 50 randomly selected Ohio-licensed veterinarians engaged in dairy practice. The survey's purpose was to determine the extent of mastitis control services offered by practitioners and to assess their utilization of milk somatic cell count (scc) data on individual cows available from the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA). During the preceding year, 96% (48/50) of practitioners surveyed had performed bacteriologic culture of milk samples. Practitioners were twice as likely to have performed culture on milk from mastitic cows that failed to respond to treatment as they were to have performed culture for purposes of identifying pathogen trends within a herd. Veterinarians in predominantly dairy practices were more likely to have completed bacteriologic examination of milk in their own laboratories than were veterinarians who were engaged in <50% dairy practice (P = 0.016). Most veterinarians (83%) reported that coagulase test results were available or that Staphylococcus aureus was differentiated from other staphylococcal species. Streptococcus agalactiae was not differentiated from other streptococcal species by 35% of practitioners surveyed.

For veterinarians with clients enrolled in the dhia, 91% (43/47) reported looking at, discussing, or otherwise using the dhia records. Eighty-one percent (35/43) of veterinarians who had clients using services from the dhia reported that clients also received individual cow milk scc results. Veterinarians engaged in predominantly dairy practice expressed a greater familiarity with the linear score method of scc reporting than did veterinarians whose practices were <50% dairy (P = 0.085); however, both groups reported a preference for raw scc data. Veterinarian response regarding potential use of dhia scc data was compared with that obtained in a companion survey of Ohio dairy producers. Veterinarians were more likely than producers to consider use of scc from individual cows to select cows for culture and to establish a milking order. Although several results of our survey indicated current high veterinary involvement in mastitis control and dhia record utilization, other trends supported concerns regarding the future of veterinarian involvement in food animal health management.

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