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Open Access Research article

An evaluation of casein hydrolyzate in combination with antibiotic for bacterial cure and subsequent increase in milk yield in dairy cows

Gabriel Leitner1, Shamay Jacoby2 and Nissim Silanikove2*

Author Affiliations

1 National Mastitis Reference Center, Kimron Veterinary Institute, P.O.B. 12, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel

2 Biology of Lactation Laboratory, Institute of Animal Science, the Volcani Center, P.O.B. 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:3  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-3

Published: 7 January 2011

Abstract

Background

A 3-yr study examined whether prepartum treatment with casein hydrolyzate in combination with antibiotic, as routinely used in Israel for dry cow therapy, improved bacterial cure and increased milk yield in subsequent lactations in comparison with treatment with antibiotic alone. The vast majority of bacterial isolates in samples collected prior to drying-off comprised coagulase-negative staphylococci, mostly as Staph. chromogenes.

Results

Bacterial cure associated with the combined treatment was 73.8% in cows, significantly higher than the 51.7% cure recorded when cows were treated only with antibiotic. During the study, the annual milk yield of non-casein hydrolyzate treated and treated control cows increased at ~2% per year, which is consistent with the national annual increase attributed to genetic selection. In cows treated with casein hydrolyzate the increase was 9% (above the 2% expected) in the first lactation after the treatment, and 6.3% (above the 4% expected for 2 years) in the second lactation after treatment. These increases were significantly higher than those in the controls and those expected through genetic improvement.

Conclusions

Treatment with casein hydrolyzate at dry-off was shown to be a viable mean to eliminate existing environmental bacterial infection, and to improve milk yield in the next lactation.