Student focus on mastitis risk factors

13 Aug, 2018 07:07 AM
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 Teanna Cahill is working on WA dairy farms collecting data for her honours project on mastitis.
Teanna Cahill is working on WA dairy farms collecting data for her honours project on mastitis.

FUNDING research into sub-clinical mastitis in dairy herds continues to be the focus of Western Dairy’s veterinary scholarship program.

The latest scholarship recipient is Murdoch University veterinary science student Teanna Cahill who is working with Western Dairy to complete her honours project that is designed to help better understand risk factors associated with mastitis.

Darren and Sharon Merritt from Elgin Dairy, near Capel and Mick and Sophia Giumelli from Benger Heights, Brunswick – both former Dairy Innovation Day host farms – have offered their herds for Ms Cahill’s research and data collection.

But she is looking for more dairy farmers prepared to give her access to information for detailed analysis of herd recording data, of antibiotic purchase and usage and consideration of the herds’ demographics and management.

When qualified Ms Cahill hopes to work as a dairy vet and believes the detailed analysis that will form part of her honours thesis, will provide an invaluable practical understanding of the management options for mastitis.

“Anti microbial resistance (AMR) is an increasing problem for both human and veterinary medicine that demands prudent usage of antibiotics,” Ms Cahill said.

“Our project will lead to a better understanding of management factors that are specific to WA dairy farms and how these contribute to sub clinical rates of mastitis and antimicrobial usage.

“The project will also provide me with a unique opportunity to work through clinical farm-level cases of mastitis and help me to develop the necessary consulting skill around management protocols for mastitis.”

While WA has the highest quality milk in the country based on somatic cell count, a Western Dairy spokesperson said it held the long-term view that, with an increasing focus on antibiotics the world over, preventative management of sub clinical mastitis needed to improve.

Last year’s Western Dairy veterinary scholarship winner, Murdoch University student Liz Cork, evaluated the performance of three commercial products using new technology to aid early detection of mastitis.

Farms prepared to make their data available for Ms Cahill’s mastitis analysis can contact Western Dairy’s Jessica Andony on jessica@westerndairy.com.au to become involved.

FarmWeekly

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