The objective of this study was to investigate the association between mastitis events occurring during the previous lactation, the dry period, and the peripartum period on the incidence of early lactation mastitis in cows receiving ceftiofur hydrochloride or penicillin dihydrostreptomycin as intramammary dry cow antibiotic therapy. Cows (n=402) from 2 large dairy farms in Central Florida were enrolled in the study at the time of dry-off processing and were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 dry cow therapies: ceftiofur hydrochloride or penicillin dihydrostreptomycin. Composite milk samples were collected at dry-off and after calving for bacteriological examination and somatic cell count. Peripartal health disorders were monitored during the first 30 d of lactation and included calving difficulty, metritis, ketosis, and left displaced abomasum. Milk production and individual somatic cell scores (SCS) were recorded monthly by the Dairy Herd Improvement Association. The main outcome variables were the risk of clinical mastitis during the first 30 and 60 d of lactation, and the risk of subclinical mastitis at the first 2 monthly Dairy Herd Improvement Association tests after calving (up to 70 d in milk). Additionally, the SCS and the presence of mastitis pathogens in milk at dry-off and at calving were analyzed. Explanatory variables consisted of events occurring during the previous lactation, at dry-off and during the dry period, at calving, and within the first 30 d after calving. Multiple events occurring during the previous lactation had a significant effect on the incidence of mastitis in the subsequent lactation. These events included low milk yield, intermediate lactation length, clinical mastitis, and lactation SCS average. Similarly, intramammary infections with environmental bacteria at dry-off increased the chances of clinical mastitis the first month after calving. Dry-off therapy had a significant effect on mastitis incidence; cows treated with ceftiofur hydrochloride had lower odds of having clinical and subclinical mastitis in the subsequent early lactation compared with cows treated with penicillin dihydrostreptomycin.
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