Dr Greg Keefe is Dean at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, Canada. M2 magazine asked Dr Keefe about his education, his work at the University and at the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research and Milk Quality Network; and about life outside of academia.
Mastitis remains the single most challenging infectious disease faced by dairy farmers across the world. Producers and herd managers rely on a series of approaches to control and treat mastitis, including genetic selection, environmental management, nutrition, and selective dry cow therapy. In combination with strict hygiene protocol and other treatments, such as the use of teat sealants, headway can be made. Yet, mastitis persists. For the most part, veterinarians and dairy farmers have relied on antibiotics to treat mastitis. While they do work, they do not repair the tissue damage caused by infection, which can lead to abnormal and decreased milk production. Amid rising resistance to antibiotics, it is ever more important to find new and novel solutions for treatment.
Mastitis is one the most common and costly diseases of dairy cattle, hence widely studied globally. It is the inflammation of one or more quarters of the mammary glands, mostly caused by various microorganisms. Based on whether gross changes in milk (such as watery, serous, or purulent milk, presence of clots, flakes, or blood), gross changes in the udder (such as painful or inflamed udder) and animal are seen or not, mastitis is categorized either into clinical or subclinical. With the introduction of Automatic Milking Systems (AMS), the sensors can measure milk parameters every time the cow goes for milking.
Biosecurity is defined as the combination of all measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of disease agents between animals. As such, the implementation of biosecurity is an important tool to accomplish disease prevention on cattle farms. It contributes to animal and public health and welfare, but it can also improve economic results and lower antimicrobial use and resistance.