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Consultant Veterinarian, 71 O’Shea Road, RD6, Te Awamutu 3876,Ethical Extracts Ltd, 276 Racecourse Road, RD1, Cambridge 3493* INTRODUCTION.
There are a large number of complementary medicines available to treat mastitis andmany opinions about which is the most effective. The purpose of this pilot study was toconsider some of the options and investigate whether any of the treatments warrantsfurther study. Treatments using homeopathic remedies and/or herbal extracts were givento 5 groups of cows on 5 farms. On one property the decision on what treatment to usewas made by using kinesiology.
The aim of the trial was to achieve a reduction in somatic cell count to below 150,000cells per ml (cpm) and a bacteriological cure.
The problem with many trials using homeopathy is that they may be scientific but areoften not homeopathic because each case is not treated individually and the group isblanket treated with one or a combination of remedies. The homeopathic approach isfurther complicated by the lack of symptoms for homeopathic analysis in cases ofsubclinical mastitis. Current research includes: Hektoen et al (2004) compared homeopathic treatments to placebo and to antibiotictreatments of clinical mastitis. The homeopathic treatments were selected on anindividual basis by skilled homeopaths. They found that there were differences betweenthe groups in the initial response to the treatment of the mastitis but by day 28 therewas little difference between the groups. However the numbers were too small forstatistical analysis. Andrew et al (2004) looked at the use of homeopathic remedies (plant based but notstated as to which plants) in combination with a mastitis nosode compared to a placeboin treating subclinical mastitis in Holstein Friesians over a 60 day period. They did notfind any significant difference between the homeopathic treated group and the placebogroup over the period. During the treatment period there were differences in the SomaticCell Count (SCC) of the homeopathic group and changes in IgG levels (an immunoglobulinin milk associated with infection and used to monitor immune responses to infection)compared to the placebo. This suggests that the homeopathy may have had a shortterm affect during the period of treatment but was too short to provide a long termbenefit. There are a number of trails carried out in India assessing the value of homeopathy Varshney et al (2005) concluded that a combination homeopathic remedy was effectiveand economical in the management of mastitis in lactating dairy cows.
Klocke et al (2002) compared homeopathic treatments with antibiotic treatment over a 6month period. They found poorer success in the homeopathic group in over all cure ratebut found there was no difference between the homeopathic group and the antibioticgroup when assessing “remaining in lactation and acceptable cell count”. Klocke, et al (2007) tried to treat high cell count cows with four treatment groups: homeopathic combination therapy, a one off dose with tuberculinum, a placebo group andan untreated control group. There was no significance difference between the groups.
There are a number of trials looking at homeopathy and clinical mastitis but very little inthe literature on reducing high somatic cell counts.
Herbal Medicine.
Traditional uses of plant remedies are familiar to most people in some form and have a
history of use in most if not all cultures. The way in which information about herbal use
has been passed between generations has been generally empirical and unquestioning.
This has tended to give herbal medicine a tainted image amongst the scientific
community. However generations of experience and accrued insight should not to be
taken lightly as it is this very folk knowledge that has given the world powerful medicines.
The use of Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) in the treatment of malaria and Wild Yam
(Dioscorea spp.) as a source of hormone precursors are examples.
Despite modern biochemical ability about 25% of present pharmaceuticals are still plantderived, (Fact sheet 134 May 2003 WHO) and the WHO maintains that over 60% of theworld’s population still use herbs as their primary source of medicine. As one would expectherbal medicine is widely used for the treatment of animals and research continues. Seebelow.
The use of herbal treatments for mastitis in New Zealand is limited by convention,regulation and lack of qualified advisers. However there appears to be strong interestfrom a small but significant part of the dairy industry for reliable advice and products. The world wide trend continues to be one of increasing importance of herbal medicine. Total worldwide sales are hard to measure but in 2001 were estimated at $16-20 billion(Journal of Nutrition. 2001;131:1120S-1123S) More reliable figures are available from the US where sales grew from $2 to $4.4 billionover the period 1994 to 2005. (Ferrier et al. Nutrition Business Journal 2006) The following is a selection of recent trials. Treatment Trial of Subclinical Mastitis with the Herb Persicaria senegalense.
Tropical Animal Health and Production, Volume 33, Number 6 / December, 2001
D. Abaineh and A. Sintayehu, National Animal Health Research Centre, Sebeta,
The remedial effect of Persicaria senegalense in bovine subclinical mastitis wasstudied by in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial tests., using crude extracts and theleaf in different forms. The in vivo trial feeding 0.77 kg of leaf powder, equivalentto 3 kg of wet leaf, was fed per day for 5 days resulted in an apparent cure rateof 92.8% (52.8% actual as there was a 40% spontaneous cure rate in thenegative control group, in contrast to 80% (40% actual) in the positive controlgroup treated with an intramammary antibiotic preparation. The difference in curerate between the negative control group and the experimental group given 0.77 kgleaf powder was significant (p = 0.008).
Antimicrobial Activity of Plants Used in the Prevention and Control of BovineMastitis in Southern Brazil.
Lat. Am. J. Pharm. 27 (6): 894-9 (2008)Avancini et al. Ethnoveterinary information about plants used in the prevention and control ofbovine mastitis in Southern Brazil was obtained by informal interview. In order tovalidate the traditional practice, the decoctions obtained with the plants wereanalysed for the in vitro antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus andSalmonella choleraesuis by the agar dilution method. Alternanthera brasiliana,Achillea millefolium, Baccharis trimera and Solidago chilensis extracts where activeagainst S. aureus while Symphythum officinale, Sambucus nigra, Mentha sp.,Ocimum basilicum, Parapiptadenia rigida and Cuphea carthagenensis extractswere active against both microorganisms. For all the cited species, scientific datawere reviewed aiming to establish a correlation between popular use and biologicalproperties. The data found in literature for several of these plants could justify theuse in the bovine mastitis treatment for antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory andwound healing activities.
Antibacterial Activity of some Herb Extracts against Staphylococcus aureus
causing Bovine Mastitis.
The 4th Chulalongkorn University Veterinary Annual Conference 15 February 2005.
Chaidate Inchaisri et al.
The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentrationof various herbal extracts against resistant penicillin-Staphylococcus aureus (8strains) and sensitive penicillin-S. aureus (7 strains) causing both subclinical andclinical mastitis were determined. Andrographis paniculata leaf extract could notinhibit or kill all S. aureus in this study. Whole plant of Asiatic pennywort andturmeric rhizomes extract could inhibit S. aureus at high concentration level but itcould not kill most of resistant and sensitive penicillin-S. aureus causing bothsubclinical mastitis and clinical mastitis. Guava leaf (Psidium guajava Linn.) andmangosteen fruit-skin (Garcinia mangostana Linn.) extracts could inhibit bothresistant and sensitive penicillin-S. aureus at low concentration level and kill athigh concentration level. Moreover, the most concentration of herb extracts (MICand MBC) against sensitive penicillin-S. aureus was lower than the concentrationof herb extract against resistant penicillin- S. aureus.
High SCC is a multi factorial problem, but from a herbal perspective because depressedimmune function increase the risk for disease, the immunological status of the cow is a priority. There are some particularly stressful periods, e.g. around calving, when the immunefunctions of the dairy animal are more likely to be suppressed (Sordillo et al. 1997, Mallardet al. 1998). This period, i.e. the peri-partum and early lactation period, is associatedwith a high susceptibility to udder infections and mastitis (Sordillo et al. 1997). Highblood levels of glucocorticoids, as well as of other hormones, are present aroundparturition, and the risk for metabolic stress is high. Examples of stress factors duringthis period are parturition, onset of lactation, and changes in feeding and managementregimes. Other diseases, such as viral infections, can also cause immune suppression, which alsoincreases the risk for other health problems like mastitis (Niskanen et al. 1995). Localstress due to injuries or skin diseases of the teats and udder is also an important riskfactor for udder infections.
Stress can lead to milk retention by inhibiting oxytocin-mediated reflexes (McCaughan etal. 1981). New environment, new milkers, painful milking technique and pain due to udderoedema are factors, which can also be stressful for the animal. Inhibition ofmilk-let-down can cause subclinical mastitis to become clinical and will affect milkproduction.
There are many herbs which can benefit immune function and support the cow duringstress. Herbal practitioners would usually treat chronic conditions such as high SCC foran extended period. However for ease of administration in this trial the treatment periodwas limited to 15 days. The herbs chosen were Phytolacca decandra/americana, Artemisia annua andEleutherococcus senticosus. Phytolacca decandra/americana
In European herbal medicine Phytolacca has been extensively used for the topicaltreatment of mastitis (Bone 2000). Its specific ethnobotanical indications are forpainful enlarged glands, soreness of mammary glands and mastitis. (Cress 2009). Other indications are for suppressed immunity. It is an immuno-stimulant (Bone2000, Ganora 2008), inflammatory conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis(Bone 2000, Ganora 2008), and for its strong antioxidant activity (Ganora 2008). Franklin, Young and Nonnecke (1994) evaluated cell proliferation in cultures ofbovine peripheral blood stimulated by Phytolacca mitogen. Cell numbers at day 6in stimulated cultures increased to 96% of the original number and remainedelevated from day 6 to 14. The numbers in the unstimulated cultures from days 4to 14 decreased to <20% of the original number. Overall, IgM secretion inducedby pokeweed by B cells in cultures is associated with proliferation of CD4+(helper-inducer) T cells, B cells, and increased expression of activation antigens.
Several studies have shown Phytolacca to have antiviral proteins. Aron and Irvin,1980, found Phytolacca antiviral protein inhibited the multiplication of herpessimplex virus type 1.
Artemisia annua
There has been suggestion that high SCC may be influenced by protozoal and/orviral pathogens. Artemisia annua has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti malarialfor hundreds of years and has been seriously investigated as an alternativetreatment of chloroquine-resistant parasites since the 1970's (Lee et al. 2002)and is used in the treatment of protozoal gut infections in humans. (Bone 2000). The first definitive trials of artemisinin were carried out in 1979 by the ChineseCoordinating Research Group. They treated 2,099 patients with malaria with theterpene (ratio Plasmodium falciparum:Plasmodium vivax is 3:1). They reported anastonishing result: clinical cure in all patients! In addition they treated 143 casesof chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria and 141 cases of cerebral malaria withgood results. (Qinghaosu Antimalaria Coordinating Research Group 1979).
Wynn and Fougere (2007) suggest that the herb has potential veterinary use forsome blood and intestinal parasites.
The antiviral activity versus flaviviruses of artemisinin has been investigated usingas an in vitro model bovine epithelial cells from embryonic trachea (EBTr) infectedwith the cytopathic strain Oregon C24V, of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV). Treatment of infected cells with IFN-a, ribavirin and artemisinin markedly reducedBVDV-induced cell death. A combination of these drugs resulted in an additiveprotective effect. These drugs induced a significant reduction in the production/release of BVDV virions by infected EBTr cells; there was also an additive effectwhen combinations of them were assayed. These results suggest a potentialusefulness of artemisinin in combination with current pharmacological therapy for the treatment of human and veterinary infections by flaviviruses. (Romero et al.
Eleutherococcus senticosus
Also commonly known as Siberian Ginseng, Eleutherococcus is one of a group ofherbs known as adaptogens which are primarily stress modulators but often haveother benefits such as reduced fatigue and better immune function. The use ofEleutherococcus was pioneered and researched in depth by the Russians. In a single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, supplementation withEleutherococcus was evaluated in regards to maximal working capacity inadolescent males. The results indicated a 23.3% increase in total work withEleutherococcus supplementation. This increase in total work seemed to bepartially due to the improvement of subjects’ oxygen metabolism reflected by anincrease in maximal oxygen uptake and in maximal oxygen pulse. (Asano et al.
Animal studies measuring forced swimming time show that supplementation withEleutherococcus inhibits stress-induced cortisol increase, inhibition of stress-induced immune suppression, and improved endurance demonstrated by increasedswimming time. (Kimura et al. 2004).
More recent research postulates that adaptogens work primarily by affecting theHypothalamic/ Pituitary/Adrenal (HPA) axis and the Sympathoadrenal System(SAS) (Panossian 2003). Thus, adaptogens modulate our response to stress(physical, environmental, or emotional) and help regulate the interconnectedendocrine, immune, and nervous systems. This re-regulation of a disordered orhighly stressed system is achieved by metabolic regulators such as cytokines,catecholamines, glucocorticoids, cortisol, serotonin, nitric oxide (NO),cholecystokinin, corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), and sex hormones (Winston2004) The herbal extracts used were sourced from and manufactured by Ethical ExtractsLtd. They were manufactured from dried plant material by cold percolationtechniques using ethanol as the extraction medium. The strength of extractswere Phytolacca 200mg/ml dry plant equivalent (DPE), Artemisia 500 mg/ml DPEand Eleutherococcus 500 mg/ml DPE.
Calendula oil and Clove oil
Traditional use of Calendula officinalis has included assistance with wound healing. Calendula extract appears to cover the wound with a ‘skin’ which stimulates thecorrect tissue response. This observation may be explained by the work ofSchmidgall et al. (2000) on the bioadhesive effects of polysaccharides andpolysaccharide-containing herbs. They devised a test system to discriminate theadhesive effects of different raw polysaccharides, obtained from a variety ofmedicinal plants. While polysaccharides from Althea officinalis, Plantago lanceolata,Malva moschata, or Tilia cordata showed only moderate bioadhesion to epithelialtissue, strong adhesive processes were observed with polysaccharides from Fucusvesiculosus and Calendula officinalis. The adhesive effects were concentration-dependent. Histological studies of membranes, incubated with a fluorescence-labelled rhamnogalacturonan, indicated the presence of distinct polysaccharidelayers on the apical membrane surface. With these results, adsorption effects ofcertain polysaccharides on mucus membranes were shown for the first time. Studies now show the vulnerary activity of Calendula is attributed to an increasein angiogenesis (Patrick et al. 1996), collagen, nucleoprotein, and glycoproteinmetabolism (Brown et al. 1998, Kloucek-Popova et al. 1982). A controlled murine study (Rao et al. 1991) explored the wound healing effect ofan ethanolic extract of C. officinalis, paravertebral incisions treated with topicalCalendula demonstrated significantly greater wound breaking strength thancontrols after 10 days of treatment. In full-thickness excised wounds, the periodto complete epithelialization with topical calendula also was significantly less thancontrol wounds. These results suggest topical calendula may facilitate collagenmaturation and epithelialization.
In a double blind RCT (Kartikeyan et al. 1990) on 18 patients with trophiculceration, 10% Calendula ointment was compared to topical neomycin andplacebo paraffin ointment. Topical Calendula prevented secondary infection anddemonstrated a 40% reduction in wound diameter and volume within 4 weeks.
However, the comparative effects of neomycin and placebo ointment on woundhealing were not detailed.
Clove oil (Eugenia caryophyllata) has been traditionally used for its topicalanodyne effect and has been included in many commercial topical treatments toreduce pain, notably a gel for baby teething. The topical anaesthetic effect of the Clove oil (Ganora 2008) combined with thehealing attributes of calendula oil promote rapid healing as well as pain reduction.
Applied Kinesiology.
Muscle testing or applied kinesiology is a non invasive way of accessing the body’simbalances and needs. It is based on the concept of internal energy and the flow ofenergy along meridians; a concept fundamental to Chinese medicine.
Kinesiologists use an indicator muscle to tap into the body’s energy and a “yes” “no”answer is obtained to challenges to the body with verbal statements or substances. Theresponse is seen as a strengthening or a weakening of the muscle. Muscle testing is used in human medicine and includes Touch for Health andNambutripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET). NAET has also been adapted for theuse in animals (Harris V. 2001). Someone is chosen who has a close emotional and physical link with the cows and iswilling to stand in for the transfer of energy in the form of information in an unbiasedway. It is important to check that the person's personal energy integrity is balanced tooptimise accurate muscle checking responses. This is achieved by a series of pre-checksof meridian switching points, checking the integrity of the Central Meridian (CV) and bodyhydration levels. Water is an electrical conductor within the body and so if hydration iscompromised muscle checking responses will not be clear. Personal stress can reversethe CV and the switching points which will once again give false responses to testing.
Once this clearing is achieved then permission of the body, mind, spirit must be obtainedand locked in with a positive muscle test. If permission is not given then clearing may beneeded with flower essences, or other techniques known to a trained Kinesiologist. Itmay even be necessary to choose another person.
The next step is making contact with the cows. Once again permission must be sort andobtained. If it is not given then further clearing of the surrogate cow may be necessaryor once again it may require the choosing of another person to work with them. Theresponses obtained via the muscle checking must be respected to keep the energychannels open and operating. It is possible to check that contact is established byasking the surrogate person to state "my name is (cows number)". This should produce apositive muscle check repeat with the persons real name - this should evoke a weak orswitched off muscle check.
This is established with the aid of muscle checking to establish the correct goal.
The goal is then rephrased as a statement of established fact. The correct goal willshow as a stress response or switched off muscle check to indicate it is not a truestatement. This muscle check is then locked into circuit and held for the duration of thesession. A change in muscle tension gives a yes or no response. When all avenues havebeen explored (see the protocol list below) the goal is again stated as positive fact. Ifeverything has been covered this will test as a strong response. This indicates that ifthe support tested for is given, then the goal is likely to be achievable.
It is important to thank the cows for their participation in the partnership. Sometimesthanks is required before the goal will test strong. Physical contact is then disconnectedand the surrogate person is asked to mentally disconnect from the cows and bethemselves. To check this is complete the person is asked to state "my name is (cowsno)" = weak muscle check. "My name is (real name)" = strong muscle check. It is alsowise to repeat pre-checks as post-checks i.e. the switch points and CV are correct.
The protocol has evolved over the time of the study to that outlined below; Modality
Constitutional remedyDisease specific remedy If for example homeopathy is identified as a need then it will be further refined as to thetype of homeopathy required as listed above. Then if an organ remedy is identified a list oforgan remedies will be tested. (For the herbs and Flower essences sample were use totest rather than the name.) Once the remedy is identified dose rates etc are clarified. See protocol below.

Once the remedy is identified, establish:

Dilution: Decimal X Centesimal C
Potency: 6, 12, 30, 200, 1M
If an odd potency is established chose the one closest.
In the water? Trough?
Drops per day. Once a day? Twice a day?
How many days.
If more than one remedy chosen; can they be given in
Drops per dose to be given individually/in trough/via dosetron RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This herd is certified organic. It was treated using homeopathy and a herbal rub.
A drying off protocol using homeopathy and manuka honey was also investigated. Treatment protocol.
After first herd test: 2 Feb 2007
High cell count cows were treated with a spray on vulval mucous membrane of HFSMastitis nosode twice a day for 4 to 5 days, as per normal farm practice. Samples were taken from high somatic cell count cows for culture after treatmentwith homeopathy. After second herd test: 25 Oct 2007
High SCC cows were treated with homoeopathic remedies to the vulval mucousmembranes: SSC remedy (combination remedy of Sulphur, Silica and Carbo veg)HFS mastitis nosode,Strep uberis / Staph aureus nosode and At drying off:
Cow numbers 166 and 59 were treated with manuka honey, aloe vera and tea treeoil intra mammary. High cell count cows and those with a history of mastitis were treated with 5ml of20+ UMF honey intramammary. Homeopathic Lac canimum for 2 days in the water trough.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic for approximately one month. Table:1 Showing somatic cell counts and culture of cows sampled
5th September 2007.
SCC Somatic Cell Counts CNS Coagulase Negative Staphs Table:2 Showing somatic cell counts and culture of cows sampled
12th November 2007.
No statistical analysis has been carried out on these results but there are some interestingobservations.
After the initial herd test 7 cows were treated with HFS mastitis nosode and milk sampleswere cultured on 5th September 2007. None of the samples cultured any bacteria. Thishas been seen this on other occasions were animals with high cell counts are treated withhomeopathy and when cultured no growth is seen (personal communication). McDougall(2002) has found that 29% to 50% of glands with clinical mastitis will not culture bacteria. This may suggest that the homeopathy is having an affect and is reflected in the secondherd test were the average cell count of these cows had dropped from 1567 to 71. On thesubsequent herd test some cows returned to high cell counts and cultured Coryneforms,CNS and Baccilus sp. These bacteria are usually associated with a breakdown in teatspray technique or a complete absence of teat spraying. (Pankey 1997). Unfortunatelythere was no culture prior to treatment for the initial animals so it is not possible to knowif these were new infections or failure of an initial bacteriological cure. The high cell count cows on the second herd test had a high number of cows culturingStaph. aureus. There was some reduction in SCC counts between the two herd tests butthose animals that were still in the herd in April did not show a bacteriological cure. Spontaneous bacteriological cure rates vary, and are difficult to assess. In trials usingantibiotic treatment there is a reluctance to leave untreated controls for welfare reasons. Clinical cure rates were 75% for non contagious pathogens (contagious pathogens wereconsidered to be Staph aureus, Strep agalactia and Mycoplasma sp.) were the same forantibiotic treated cows compared to animals stripped more frequently using oxytocin (McDougall 2005). House (2003) quotes self cure rates for environmental bacteria of 20%and 73% for CNS. It is therefore impossible with this small sample to look at cure rates but the lack ofbacteriological culture after homeopathic treatments could warrant more study. The cows culturing Staph aureus appeared to have a small drop in SCC counts but not abacteriological cure.
Table:3 Changes in SCC after Manuka honey dry cow treatment
Cow’s SCC falling
Last test
Herd test
below 250,000 after
15th Oct 2008
22 cows treated with manuka honey had cell counts of over 300,000 on the last herd testin March 2008. On the first herd test in October 2008 59% had cell counts below 250,000. Assessment of the success or failure of this treatment is hard to assess as there is anatural cure rate over the dry period. The three cows sampled with Staph aureus two stillhad high cell counts. Manuka honey does have activity against Staph aureus in in vitrostudies (Cooper et al and Allen et al).
Herd B was not an organic herd but the use of antibiotics was minimal and homeopathywas used as part of the mastitis control program. There was a severe problem in this herd due to incorrect milking machine cup liners beinginserted at the beginning of the season. The liners were too short for the cups, providingan inadequate relaxation phase during milking. Despite there being severe teat end damageand a serious mastitis problem identified as predominantly Staph aureus, the teat linerswere not changed until the end of November just prior to the second milk samples beingtaken.
A combination of herbs and homeopathy were used on this property.
The herbal treatments were divided into two groups; 10 animals were treated withPhytolacca americana only and the second group of 30 were treated with a combinationof herbs: Phytolacca americana , Artemisia annua , and Eleutherococcus senticosus Additional treatments:
In addition to the individual herbal treatments the herd was treated with HFS homeopathic
mastitis nosode as per normal farm policy.
A second homeopathic mastitis nosode was made up from mastitic milk from the cowssampled and the cows were treated on a daily basis for one month. There was no changein the herd bulk somatic cell count during this treatment. Calendula oil and clove oil This was used as a teat dip for cows with sores on their teats. Due to the affects of thevacuum on the teat ends there were a large number of black pock lesions. No evaluationwas carried out on this treatment. In the herd manager’s opinion the calendula / clove oilmixture was very affective in treating the teats with lesions. The cows stopped kickingthe cups off and the lesions cleared up.
Table 4 Results for Treatment 1 : Phytolacca only
Table 5 Results for Treatment 2 : Phytolacca mix
Phytolacca americana 20%, Artemisia annua 40%, Eleutherococcus senticosus 40% Table:6 Somatic cell count trends of cows not treated with herbs.
These cows received the homeopathic treatments as they were given on a herd basis.
No statistical analysis has been carried out on these results.
Treatment 1
At the first herd test after treatment 30% of the cows had reduced their cell counts to
below 500,000. The average cell count for the group had not dropped to any great extent,
from 2,511,000 to 2,445,000 but the problem with the cup liners still had not been
addressed. In the January herd test there was a large reduction in the somatic cell count
from an average of 2445 in November to 562,000. 55% of the cows on the third herd test
were below 500,000. However there was no bacteriological cure.
Treatment 2
After the first herd test 43% of the cows had reduced their cell count to below 500,000.
By the January herd test there was 61% of this group below 500,000. The average
somatic cell counts however stayed above 500,000. There was also no bacteriological
Non Treated group
At the first herd test 70% of the cows had reduced their cell count to below 500,000. By
the herd test in January 77% of the cows were below 500,000. No bacteriological culture
carried out on these cows.
Interestingly the herb treated group the SCC remained below the November values,
whereas the untreated group had started to increase again.
Muscle testing or applied kinesiology was used to establish the treatment chosen. Thetreatment protocols were aiming to reduce SCC. Mastitis treatments were looked atbriefly on one occasion. First session: 20th June 2007
The remedies / problems identified/ chosen were: The goal set was to: “Maintain the bulk somatic cell count below 200,000 cells per ml.” Itwas identified that this needed to be addressed at a herd level rather than by working onan individual basis with high cell count cows. Winter Jasmine “Prepare joyfully for the unexpected” These minerals could be supplied by supplementing Arcadian sea weed in a lick. 11 drops in trough twice a day from when first cow calved until the end ofcalving.
Yes (this was not followed through due to certification issues) It was identified that there was a requirement for more plantain and chicoryin the pasture and an increase in hay/fibre in the diet. A requirement for specific herbs were identified but not followed through due to thepracticalities of supplying herbs on a whole herd basis. 22nd July 2007 Muscle testing Results.
Herbs required on an individual basis.
Continue Winter sweet and jasmine for a week after 1st August. Continue cal flur until end of season.
18th August 2007. Muscle testing results.
The SCC for the herd is already below 200,000 cells /ml, so we established a goal to lowerthe cell count to below 100,000 per ml. This was accepted by the herd.
The milking machines were having a 15% influence on the SCC. We were notable to identify the problem Water quality was having a 66% affect. This was identified as the additives.
The homeopathic liver remedies are to be stopped. The drum in thedosetron needed to be cleaned.
Flower essences were identified as having a 26% affect. Required Grape upuntil Christmas" Grape (the sweetener of unconditional love starting with self): 2drops per 500ml. Two drops on Monday.
Papaya. (for burn out) 12 drops per 500ml. 8 drops per day but notMondays.
Table:7 Results from high cell count cows.
Cows were not sampled at the end of 07/08 season as they were dried off early due todrought.
Table:8 Somatic cell count trends over the;
04/05, 05/06, 06/07, 07/08 and 08/09 seasons
Bold illustrates seasons during trial
Table: 9 Somatic cell count trends all cows.
Cell count ranges
Jan March Sept
March Sept Nov
Est bulk count
SCC 04/05
Scc 05/06
SCC 07/08
SCC 08/09
Table: 10 Somatic cell count trends 2 year olds
Cell count ranges
Jan March Sept
March Sept Nov
Est bulk count
From the data there appears to be very little change in the herd somatic cell counts overthe 5 year period, two years before and three years of muscle testing. The average SCCfor the seasons have remained consistent and number of times the SCC have peaked over400,000 has be confined to the start and finish of lactation. The 2004/05 season had theleast spikes but the following season. 2005/06 prior to the start of the trial shows somemajor fluctuations in SCC through out the seasons. The 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09seasons the SCC remained below the 300,000 level except at the beginning and end of thelactation. The farmer however has said he has not had to cull any cow on somatic cell count duringthis trail as the cell counts have remained with in the desired level in spite of animals inthe herd with SCC levels consistently over 1 million. He also commented that the animalswere generally more settled at calving, general health problems appeared reduced, theincidence of clinical mastitis appeared lower and response to treatment was quicker.
During the session on 8th August 2008, muscle testing was carried out to develop a herbalformula for clinical mastitis. The formula indicated (formula A) consisted of two herbs, anAyurvedic herb with traditional ethnoveterinary usage for the treatment of mastitis, and aEuropean herb traditionally used as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory . A second formula (formula B) was also given to the farmer. It consisted of herbstraditionally used in European herbal medicine for the treatment of mastitis in humans andstock. Alternated cases were treated with the two formulas. Formula B was soon abandoned dueto poor response and formula A has continued to be used successfully in subsequentseasons. It has to be noted that the muscle tester was a very important part of this trial and a nonbias person is required. Our muscle tester was not from a farming back ground and had nopreconceived ideas regarding the out come. Results were consistent and acceptable. Herd D
This herd was treated using homeopathic remedies on a herd and an individual basis and
aloe vera on an individual basis. This herd had a major Staph aureus problem.
Treatment protocol:
The approach used a combination of homeopathic remedies to try and eliminate the Staph
form the high cell count cows. The cows were also drenched with Aloe Vera.
Homeopathy on a herd basis:Staph aureus nosode.
Calc flur cells salts.
Table:11 Culture Results
3rd Nov 2007
10th Apr 2008
3rd Nov 2007
10th Apr 2008
The CNS appeared to be eliminate by this regime (5 cows) , but there was no change in
bacteriology of the Staph aureus samples.
The treatment protocol for this herd was to use Strep uberis and Staph aureus nosode ona herd basis. Table:12 Culture Results
5th Nov 2007
22nd Dec 2007
28th Apr 2008
Discussion for herds D and E.
For herd E the Strep uberis cleared up between 5th November and 22nd December, number126 then cultured Staph aureus and 5 cows became high cell count between herd testand cultured Staph aureus. The numbers are too small to be significant but it is interestingthat this herd as well as herds A and C developed Staph aureus later in the season. Someof these cases are new, some are in cows already identified as high cell count cows. Herd D. There was no response to treatment. General conclusions:
Consistently through out this study we have seen very poor response to Staph aureussubclinical mastitis. This is similar to the problems seen with conventional treatments.
The incidence of Staph aureus mastitis however was very high across all 5 farms.
McDougall (2002) found an incidence of <20% for Staph aureus in his study on clinicalmastitis. Strep uberis was the most common isolate in this study of >45%. The tablebelow summarizes the incidence of Staph aureus across all 5 farms.
Table:13 Summary of the incidence of
Strep uberis and Staph aureus cultured across all farms.
Number of cows
Cows culturing
Strep uberis
Staph aureus
It would be interesting to see if Staph aureus has a similar prevalence across all organicfarms. The incidence of other mastitis pathogens appears lower may be a reflection thatthese other pathogens are responding to organic treatment approaches. This may wellwarrant more investigation. The response to clinical mastitis herbal treatments was encouraging and furtherinvestigation is warranted.
Similarly the Calendula/Clove treatment for the black pock was also very encouraging.
The use of kinesiology was helpful and the farmer felt that the treatments chosen had abeneficial effect on his herd. Unfortunately this approach needs a trained and unbiasedpractitioner. This makes it an expensive diagnostic tool an difficult for farmers to practisethemselves.
The homeopathic treatments were disappointing but similar results ave been seen in otheroverseas trials. There does appear to be some response as seen in herd A where high cellcount cows were bacteriologically negative after homeopathic treatment. Due to thenature of homeopathy it is ideally used on an individual basis which will always make itdifficult when used on a herd basis.
The overall success of the trial was encouraging in all areas and further investigationwould be worthwhile. As reflected in other trials finding enough participants to make theresults statistically valid is challenging. This is further complicated by the multi factorialnature of mastitis and high cell counts.
This study would not have been possible with out the support of Dairy NZ and OPDGfunding and support. Special thanks must go the to the farmers involved for the time and effort they put intothis study.
Particular acknowledgment must go to ; John Vosper who put in a lot of time and effort to get this project off the ground.
Val MacArthur from Herbal Touch carried out the muscle testing and wrote theintroduction to muscle testing; Fiona Lane from Biopet provided some of the homeopathic remedies and helped withdiscussion on appropriate remedies and, Bruce Barwell gave us his time to discuss homeopathic remedies and possible approachesto treatment of chronic mastitis problems. WINTEC Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) has provided ethical approval for the completion ofthis project and gave its support. References
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