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J Dairy Sci. 2011 Sep;94(9):4476-87. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-4123.

The cost and management of different types of clinical mastitis in dairy cows estimated by dynamic programming.

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Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The objective of this study was to estimate the cost of 3 different types of clinical mastitis (CM) (caused by gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and other organisms) at the individual cow level and thereby identify the economically optimal management decision for each type of mastitis. We made modifications to an existing dynamic optimization and simulation model, studying the effects of various factors (incidence of CM, milk loss, pregnancy rate, and treatment cost) on the cost of different types of CM. The average costs per case (US$) of gram-positive, gram-negative, and other CM were $133.73, $211.03, and $95.31, respectively. This model provided a more informed decision-making process in CM management for optimal economic profitability and determined that 93.1% of gram-positive CM cases, 93.1% of gram-negative CM cases, and 94.6% of other CM cases should be treated. The main contributor to the total cost per case was treatment cost for gram-positive CM (51.5% of the total cost per case), milk loss for gram-negative CM (72.4%), and treatment cost for other CM (49.2%). The model affords versatility as it allows for parameters such as production costs, economic values, and disease frequencies to be altered. Therefore, cost estimates are the direct outcome of the farm-specific parameters entered into the model. Thus, this model can provide farmers economically optimal guidelines specific to their individual cows suffering from different types of CM.

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