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Evaluation of Levamisole Administration at Dry Period for Controlling Postpartum Bovine Mastitis
© The Author(s); licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2003
Published: 31 March 2003
Levamisole is an antihelmintic drug, which also has immunomodulatory effects.Levamisole has influenced host defense by modulating cell-mediated immune response, humoral immunity response and enhancement of macrophage and polymorphonuclear cell function. Levamisole modulates immune function at 2 to 3 mg/kg bodyweight.Several researches have been performed to evaluate these immunomodulatory effects of levamisole for prevention and treatment of bovine mastitis, but results of these studies have been conflicting. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the drug on the prevention and treatment of mastitis at the dry period. Ninety- four Holstein cows at dry period of a dairy herd were selected randomly. Levamisole was administrated orally to 46 cows (test group) at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg at 3 days interval, during the first 45 days of dry period. Forty- eight cows were chosen as control group. The cows were paired according to parity and milk yield. All cows received a dry cow mastitis ointment1 at drying off. The treatment was ceased approximately 2 weeks before expected time of parturition. Each cow received 16 treatments on average.Stool exam was also performed on both the test and control groups.Bacteriological assessment was performed on milk at drying off (before administration of dry cow mastitis ointment) and postpartum days: 5, 15 and 25.The cows were clinically examined and the udders were inspected for signs of inflammation, induration and swelling. The milk was also checked for changes in the consistency.The results of this study showed that the incidence of new mastitis cases were significantly different (p < 0.05) between the test and control groups (29.3% vs. 45.8%, respectively). Positive response to treatment of existing intramammary infections was not significantly different between the two groups.The incidence of new mastitis cases were also significantly different (p < 0.05) between the test and control groups according to parity (2nd to 4th parity cows) (26% vs. 56%, respectively) and milk yield (intermediate milk yielding cows) (26.3% vs. 58.8%, respectively). On behalf of these results it seems that levamisole had no effects on treatment of mastitis cases. Theoretically, levamisole can have only a limited beneficial effect in the treatment of mastitis because the magnitude of the neutrophil response is not a limiting factor in the defence of the mammary gland against bacteria and therefore any enhancement of neutrophil chemotaxis by levamisole is unlikely to be of value. The results of this study showed that levamisole exerts its effects through prevention of new mastits cases (prevention of the development of disease once organisms have entered the mammary gland).
1 Albadry Plus – UpJohn Company, Belgium.
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