Mastitis Resistance to Enhance Dairy Food Safety
The risk of mastitis is greatest during the transition period. The cost of mastitis is a significant loss for the dairy industry of greater than $1.7 billion each year. During the last 25 years, there has been improvement in mastitis prevention and control as well as a greater understanding of the effects of dietary nutrients on immune function. However, research on nutritional factors affecting immune function in particular, bovine retinoid metabolites and RBP, the carrier protein for retinol, are limited for dairy cows during the periparturient period and in response to intra-mammary infection. Our laboratory has been investigating the metabolic challenges during the transition period in dairy cows and their effects on specific immune measures and, in particular, on mastitis. This proposed project will create new knowledge of the effects of
the retinoids (e.g., vitamin A) on immune system function in dairy cows. The results will lead to improved management practices and the potential to develop intervention strategies that can reduce the need for antibiotic use on dairy farms to treat infections.