Assessment and management of pain in dairy cows with clinical mastitis

Despite the widespread implementation of mastitis control programs, clinical mastitis is a commonly occurring and economically important disease for the worldwide dairy industry1. In recent years, there has been a general decline of the incidence of clinical mastitis2. However, with an incidence rate of 23 cases per 100 cows in Canadian herds1, a focus on research and extension and advice on this issue is still greatly needed. Mastitis can be attributed to an annual economic loss of approximately US$ 400 million (Euro 300 million) for dairy producers3. Economic costs associated with mastitis include milk production losses, treatment costs, and potential long-term damage to the mammary gland as a result of inflammation3. Indirect costs from mastitis can include somatic cell count (SCC) penalties and increased culling rates4. Moreover, cows with clinical mastitis prior to being confirmed pregnant showed increased days to first service, days open, and services per conception5. In summary, clinical and subclinical intramammary infection (IMI) are major issues for the dairy industry, with broad ranging impacts and consequences.