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Publications

The abrupt cessation of milking at dry-off may induce milk leakage, which may increase the risk of new intramammary infections (IMI). This study assessed the efficacy of 1 i.m. injection of 5.6 mg of cabergoline (Velactis, Ceva Santé Animale, Libourne, France) at drying-off on milk leakage after dry-off and new IMI across the dry period and postcalving compared with a placebo (negative control) and an intramammary antibiotic treatment (positive control) under field conditions. The study was a double-blind, randomized, 3-arm, multicenter, clinical trial performed under Good Clinical Practice conditions. Data from 900 dairy cows of various breeds from 63 farms in France, Germany, and Hungary were analyzed. Only quarters with no bacterial growth at drying-off and a cow somatic cell count ≤200,000 cells/mL were included. Quarters infected with major or minor pathogens or cows with high somatic cell count at time of inclusion were excluded. Cows that qualified for the study were visited 7 times in total before and after drying-off and after calving. Presence (yes/no) of milk leakage was recorded on the day after dry-off. A new infected quarter (new IMI) was defined as one with a major pathogen present in any one of the 2 postcalving samples. Two mixed logistic regression models were fitted to the data to evaluate the efficacy of cabergoline in the reduction of milk leakage and new IMI. One i.m. injection of cabergoline at drying-off significantly reduced the incidence of milk leakage the day after dry-off compared with both placebo and antibiotic treatment. Cabergoline-treated cows significantly reduced the risk of new IMI by major pathogens across the dry period and postcalving by 21% when compared with placebo cows (20.5 vs. 26.0%, respectively). However, when milk leakage was added to the model, the significance of cabergoline was reduced. We interpreted this to show that milk leakage is an intervening variable between treatment with cabergoline and lower risk of new IMI. The antibiotic treatment significantly decreased the odds of new IMI compared with both cabergoline and placebo. However, because several countries are currently disallowing the preventive use of antibiotics at dry-off in noninfected quarters, the dry-off facilitator cabergoline may therefore be of particular value to reduce the risk of new IMI across the dry period.

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