For many years we have struggled with one of the most costly diseases to the dairy farmer and until recently could do little for prevention within the cow. There is now the opportunity to change our approach to the way we help control Mastitis within our herds, vaccination. STARTVAC® is a product from a company called HIPRA and was developed to help protect cows and heifers from the two main areas of mastitis, Contagious and environmental.
STARTVAC® is a polyvalent vaccine which means it contains more than one component part. Therefore it is able to help protect against E-coli and coliform mastitis (environmental) and also Staph. Aureus and CNS (contagious). The vaccine works by producing antigens to the core of the coliform pathogens and as these are common to most coliform it is able to protect against E-coli and coliforms giving a broad spectrum of cover.
The protection against Staph. aureus and the CNS is slightly different as the STARTVAC® produces antigens against Biofilm or slime as it is commonly known. This is a protective layer that forms over the colonies of the bug and protects it whilst allowing it to develop and grow within the udder. This makes this pathogen very difficult to treat with antibiotics in its protected state. This is why we see the problems with Staph. aureus and CNS increase the longer an animal is in milk and it can lead to what we see as broken cows with chronic levels of SCC.
If used on one of the recognized protocols this product has shown to decrease cell counts and reduce the number of clinical cases in cows where Staph. aureus and CNS are present. For farms where E-coli and coliforms have caused toxic mastitis and in many cases dead cows, the vaccine will be seen to reduce the severity of all levels of this form of mastitis, reducing culling, lost quarters and lost cows.
Over time STARTVAC® has shown to improve overall herd udder health and increase milk yield (quantity and quality), in one field trial carried out by Andrew Bradley of Nottingham University, by an average of 235 litres per cow in the first 120 days of lactation. It has also shown to reduce the level of antibiotic usage which is fast becoming another hot topic.
Please note that this vaccine will work as an important tool in your mastitis control plan, and it should be used in conjunction with all other preventative measures not as a replacement. Parlor routine, dry cow period and transition, cubicle cleanliness and all the other measures around this complex and multifactorial disease still need to be paid attention. As part of the tool box in mastitis prevention STARTVAC®” will play a major role.
With the increasing pressure to reduce antibiotic use now is the time to contact the practice for more information.
For more information phone Molecare Veterinary Services on 01392 872934.