Hampton Veterinary Centre Hampton Veterinary Centre Hampton Veterinary Centre

Early lactation

Ideally, everyone involved in producing milk would like to achieve greater cure rates, minimise mastitis recurrence and ultimately use less antibiotics. Economically all three of these achievements could save thousands on every dairy farm.

In early 2010, vets and farmers around the UK - including our practice - began to try treating mastitis with Cobactan intramammary tubes together with Cobactan 2.5% injection; one of the few licensed antibiotic combinations. 

The method, called ELT (Early Lactation Therapy), is simple in its approach and had an impact on mastitis management on many farms who tried it. The standard protocol was to be used of three tubes at 12 hourly intervals and two injections at 24 hour intervals. Farmers selected whichever cases they felt appropriate.

At the same time, vets ran more in-depth trials on four farms with varying management policies and sizes ranging from 300 cows to 1000 cows.


Bacteria isolated from pre-treatment milk samples, when taken, were predominantly environmental which is representative of the general UK picture.

The “overall impression” of 344 cases were scored:

  • 66%were satisfactory or above
  • 11%showed a rapid disappearance of clots
  • 25 %reasonably rapid
  • 30%satisfactory resolution of clots.
  • 70%showed a satisfactory reduction in udder swelling.



Mastitis is often

overlooked as

being a painful

condition that can

frequently lead to

the cow being

quite unwell in

herself.  Dealing

with infection quickly, together with a reduction in any swelling is certain to help in overall cow wellbeing.


In the more technical, vet-led trials, findings were similarly encouraging: The pathogens isolated were representative of a predominantly environmental mastitis problem, as in the other studies

The average overall 28 day recurrence rate showed a significant reduction when using ELT as compared to previously on these farms where tubes alone were used.  

What this meant for these commercial milking herds using ELT ultimately led to more milk in the tank as there were fewer repeat cases; certainly a key target for anyone producing milk.