Recently, it has been shown that the addition of meloxicam to standard antimicrobial therapy for clinical mastitis (CM) improves the conception rate of dairy cows contracting CM in the first 120 d in milk. The objective of our study was to assess whether this improved reproduction through additional treatment with meloxicam would result in a positive net economic benefit for the farmer. We developed a stochastic bio-economic simulation model, in which a dairy cow with CM in the first 120 d in milk was simulated. Two scenarios were simulated in which CM cases were treated with meloxicam in conjunction with antimicrobial therapy or with antimicrobial therapy alone. The scenarios differed for conception rates (31% with meloxicam or 21% without meloxicam) and for the cost of CM treatment. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken for the biological and economic components of the model to assess the effects of a wide range of inputs on inferences about the cost effectiveness of meloxicam treatment. Model results showed an average net economic benefit of €42 per CM case per year in favor of the meloxicam scenario. Cows in the no-meloxicam treatment scenario had higher returns on milk production, lower costs upon calving, and reduced costs of treatment. However, these did not outweigh the savings associated with lower feed intake, reduced number of inseminations, and the reduced culling rate. The net economic benefit favoring meloxicam therapy was a consequence of the better reproductive performance in the meloxicam scenario in which cows had a shorter calving to conception interval (132 vs. 143 d), a shorter intercalving interval (405 vs. 416 d), and fewer inseminations per conception (2.9 vs. 3.7) compared with cows in the no-meloxicam treatment scenario. This resulted in a shorter lactation, hence a lower lactational milk production (8,441 vs. 8,517 kg per lactation) with lower feeding costs in the meloxicam group. A lower culling rate (12 vs. 25%) resulted in lower replacement costs in the meloxicam treatment scenario. All of the scenarios evaluated in the sensitivity analyses favored meloxicam treatment over no meloxicam. This study demonstrated that improvements in conception rate achieved by the use of meloxicam, as additional therapy for mild to moderate CM in the first 120 d in milk, have positive economic benefits. This inference remained true over a wide range of technical and economic inputs, demonstrating that use of meloxicam is likely to be cost effective across many production systems.
- Animal health management
- Bovine clinical mastitis