In April of this year, Near East University in North Cyprus hosted the Fertility and Mastitis in Dairy Farm Congress. Some 450 veterinarians and academics from various veterinary medicine departments in Turkey and North Cyprus attended the event. Here are some of highlights from the congress.
The main objective of the congress was to provide veterinary practitioners with up-to-date information on udder health, mastitis, fertility and infertility, and to present new approaches and practices. The event was attended by both freelance and field veterinarians, whose job it is to perform physical, CMT and bacteriological examinations according to the “ring system” that has been developed of the past years.
In the opening speech, Prof. Dr. Selim Aslan emphasized the importance of udder diseases, especially udder health and protection.
“Direct costs such as discarded milk, drug, and indirect costs like penalties because of increased cell counts resulting in decreased milk yield and higher culling and replacement rates are major economic problems on farms due to mastitis,” he said.
“According to a study conducted in Canada, mastitis has been reported to cause $400 million losses annually in Canada,” he continued. “Therefore, we should update our knowledge constantly in terms of udder health and prevention methods.”
Aslan also emphasized the relationship between mastitis and infertility and talked about the importance of continuous learning in these areas.
As an invited congress speaker, Prof. Dr. Sarne De Vliegher from Belgium gave two talks at the congress. De Vliegher focused on issues with mastitis, antimicrobial consumption on dairy herds, the dry period and transition, lactation, and the role of bovine veterinarians as coaches and advisors.
Mastitis is a complex, multifactorial disease, he said. Pathogens, cows and farmers/farm managers have an important role to play in its mitigation.
“Mastitis is costly and annoying for the farmer, and threatens the image of the entire dairy industry,” said De Vliegher. “Prevention and control of mastitis is based on multiple principles that have been known for a long time. To implement them successfully, they should be put forward by a motivated and motivating advisor who transfers the existing knowledge to the farmer.”
“When applied by an encouraged farmer through a farm specific implementation, prevention and control of mastitis will result in happy cows, happy farmers, happy advisors, happy consumers, and a happy industry,” he concluded.
In his talk, Prof. Dr. Paolo Moroni discussed antibiotics and the current scrutiny around their use. While he applauded the Dutch for successfully reducing their overall use, he pointed out the importance of using antibiotics in the right circumstances.
“Treatment is an important element in the management of mastitis and generally it’s applied for clinical mastitis, subclinical mastitis, and at dry-off to cure or prevent mastitis cases but we need to optimize antimicrobial usage,” he said.
Dr. Sebastian Patrick Arlt talked about different synchronization methods in cows, the approach to these methods and the factors affecting these methods in his presentation.
Prof. Dr. Urban Besenfelder’s take-home message was that early embryogenesis is very sensitive to any abnormal environmental changes as shown for in vitro culture (IVP), endocrine super stimulation in donor animals, as well as for dairy milking cows.
“On the other hand, it is obvious that these deviations are reflected in fertility problems, mainly in early embryo death,” he said. “It might become evident that fertility acts as an indicator for animal performance, including animal welfare.”
“Long-term effects still need to be intensively investigated,” he continued. “Therefore, we will focus on topics such as dynamic metabolic culture conditions in the oviduct for a better assessment of fertility and fertility problems; determination of the immune status in the fallopian tube in the postpartum period; and studies on male fertility i.e. semen transfer into the oviduct via bypassing the remaining female reproductive tract.”
Embryonic deaths might be caused by different inflammatory factors and different molecules, Besenfelder concluded.
In his talk, Dr. Casademunt Garre focused on Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV). BRSV, he said, has the capacity to infect cattle of all ages, but is particularly virulent in young calves. Garre concluded that immunity-physiology balance might be changing on-farm. Certain farms, he said, will benefit from a full preventive program in cows and calves.
The Fertility and Mastitis in Dairy Farm Congress was organized by a commission presidency composed of Prof. Dr. Selim Aslan, Prof. Dr. Murat Fındık (President of the Turkish Veterinary Gynecology Association), Associate Professor Osman Ergene, and Associate Professor İsfendiyar Darbaz. It was supported by Near East University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and University, and sponsored by Hipra-Turkey.
Text and pictures Selim Aslan