Irish Examiner - Farming - - TECHNOLOGY FOCUS - Stephen Cado­gan

Ex­tracts of Mex­i­can le­mon peel are one of the few sub­stances which shows promis­ing anti- mi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity against mas­ti­tis in dairy cows. The hunt for non-an­timi­cro­bial ther­a­pies is be­com­ing ur­gent, due to in­creas­ing re­sis­tance to anti-mi­cro­bials (an­tibi­otics). Vet­eri­nary re­searchers at the 29th World Buiatrics Congress in Dublin heard that Mex­i­can re­searchers had de­tected po­ten­tial an­timi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity for le­mon peel ex­tracts against Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus aureus bac­te­ria, a fre­quent cause of mas­ti­tis which is in­creas­ingly re­sis­tant to an­timi­cro­bials. The Congress heard the plant ex­tract shows promis­ing ac­tiv­ity when used in teat dip or an­timi­cro­bial drugs for dairy cows.

H o weve r , C a n a d i a n r e - searchers seek­ing to iden­tify non- an­timi­cro­bial ther­a­pies told the congress no al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies have con­sis­tently demon­strated ef­fi­cacy for treat­ment of clin­i­cal mas­ti­tis, based on res­o­lu­tion of clin­i­cal signs, bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal cure, or milk pro­duc­tion, in clin­i­cal tri­als. They re­viewed re­search pa­pers, look­ing for clin­i­cal mas­ti­tis treat­ments in lac­tat­ing dairy cows, other than an­tibi­otics, that have demon­strated ef­fi­cacy in clin­i­cal tri­als, ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies, or ex­per­i­men­tal stud­ies.

KEEP ON DIP­PING: re­sis­tance is in­creas­ing to an­tibi­otics used to treat mas­ti­tis, and progress in find­ing al­ter­na­tive treat­ments is slow.

They said some phy­tother­a­peu­tic prod­ucts, or im­munoglob­u­lin-based prod­ucts, need fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore con­clu­sion on their ef­fi­cacy. Ef­fi­cacy of oxy­tocin, with or with­out fre­quent milk­ing out, was in­con­sis­tent in tri­als, and some detri­men­tal ef­fects were even re­ported.

Anti- in­flam­ma­tory drugs demon­strated po­ten­tial ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects in ex­per­i­men­tal models, mainly on con­trol of clin­i­cal signs as­so­ci­ated with mas­ti­tis, but their pos­i­tive ef­fects have to be con­firmed in ran­domised clin­i­cal tri­als.

US re­searcher Hu­bert Kar­re­man said there are hardly any clin­i­cal stud­ies with home­o­pathic reme­dies in dairy cows, but there are too many anec­do­tal suc­cesses to dis­miss this mode of ther­apy, with many or­ganic herds re­ly­ing on home­o­pathic reme­dies to some de­gree. How­ever, re­sults of Ger­man re­search pre­sented at the Congress in Dublin said home­o­pathic treat­ments of clin­i­cal mas­ti­tis can­not be rec­om­mended, al­though they are widely used, for ex­am­ple on or­ganic farms where use of an­tibi­otics if greatly re­stricted.

From the Univer­sity of Kas­sel, Witzen­hausen, Ger­many, they said use of home­opa­thy in live­stock is wide­spread, and be­comes more and more pop­u­lar with the aim to re­duce use of an­tibi­otics, es­pe­cially in food-pro­duc­ing an­i­mals. But their sys­tem­atic re­view of peer-re­viewed pub­li­ca­tions, to as­sess home­opa­thy in cat­tle, pigs and poul­try, con­cluded that home­opa­thy to re­place or re­duce an­tibi­otics c a n n o t b e re c o m m e n d e d , un­less ev­i­dence of ef­fi­cacy is re­pro­duced by Ran­domised Con­trolled Tri­als un­der mod­i­fied con­di­tions. An­other re­search team who pre­sented at the Congress in Dublin said it i s n e a rl y im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict the out­come of a home­o­pathic treat­ment, be­cause farm con­di­tions vary so much. Th­ese EU-funded re­searchers stud­ied 64 dairy farms in Ger­many, France and Spain, coun­tries where home­o­pathic reme­dies are fre­quently used in dairy farm­ing.

They found most farm­ers only had a poor level of aware­ness of the prin­ci­ples of home­opa­thy.

They said use of home­opa­thy by the farm­ers was of­ten il­le­gal, with 88% us­ing hu­man medicine prod­ucts reg­u­larly with­out re- ded­i­ca­tion by a ve­teri­nar­ian, and colchicine and/or aris­tolochia ( for­bid­den sub­stances) were found on 11 farms.

T h e r e wa s i n s u f f i c i e n t treat­ment doc­u­men­ta­tion on over 80% of farms. “Each farmer seems to have d e ve l o p e d h i s / h e r o w n home­o­pathic treat­ment strat­egy with­out pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence with re­spect to the suc­cess of treat­ment,” said the re­searchers. Open to stu­dents start­ing or cur­rently study­ing a reg­is­tered CAO full time agri­cul­tural course at a Repub­lic of Ireland third-level in­sti­tu­tion. See full T&C for list of el­i­gi­ble cour­ses. Com­pe­ti­tion closes mid­night Sun­day, Septem­ber 10.

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