Evaluation of Ascorbic Acid Treatment in Clinical and Subclinical Mastitis of Indian Dairy Cows

  • Naresh, Ram (Division of Medicine, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Dwivedi, S.K. (National Research Centre on Equine) ;
  • Swarup, D. (Division of Medicine, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Patra, R.C. (Division of Medicine, Indian Veterinary Research Institute)
  • Received : 2001.09.06
  • Accepted : 2002.01.16
  • Published : 2002.06.01


A study was carried out to assess the therapeutic effect of ascorbic acid in mastitis of dairy cows. The herd with a population of 250-275 lactating cows was screened for clinical and subclinical mastitis for a period of 5 months. Based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, eighteen animals each with clinical and subclinical mastitis in one quarter only were selected as study population. Twelve cows (group A) with normal udder and health were also selected as a healthy control. Clinical mastitis cows were grouped as B (n=12) and C (n=6). Cows of group B were treated with ascorbic acid at 25 mg/kg, subcutaneously for 5 consecutive days and intramammary infusion (Ampicillin sodium 75 mg and Cloxacillin sodium 200 mg/infusion) based on antibiotic sensitivity test, till complete recovery. Group C cows received only intramammary infusion till the complete recovery. Eighteen subclinical mastitis cows were divided in group D (n=12) and E (n=6). Cows of group D were treated with ascorbic acid at 25 mg/kg subcutaneously for 5 consecutive days while group E did not receive any treatment. California mastitis test (CMT), somatic cell count (SCC), physical changes of udder and milk were used to diagnose and classify the mastitis. Evaluation of the therapy was based on CMT score and physical changes of udder and milk. Sample size calculation was also performed but was not followed for control groups due to scarcity of cases. Adequate blinding was done when and where required to avoid the biases. Confounding variables like herd, age of the cow, stage of the lactation, season and geographical region were duly considered and adequate blocking was followed. Ascorbic acid was administered in clinical and subclinical cases even after cure considering its immunostimulatory and healing inducing effects. The recovery rate was faster in cases of clinical mastitis treated with ascorbic acid along with an intramammary infusion (group B) than the quarters of group C cows. Quarter wise the average duration/number (3.16${\pm}$0.11 days) of antimicrobial intramammary infusion was significantly (p<0.01) less in group B than that of average duration/number (5.33${\pm}$0.20 days) of group C. Subclinical mastitis cows treated with ascorbic acid showed 83.33% recovery while 16.77% did not respond to treatment till last day of study. Cows of group E (untreated) did not recovered from the mastitis. Subjective parameters viz. swelling, pain reflex of udder and physical changes in milk from quarter of ascorbic acid treated cows (group B) disappeared earlier than that of group C cows. It is concluded from this study that the ascorbic acid might be useful as an adjunct in case of clinical mastitis to get quick recovery with less number of intramammary infusions. High recovery rate in subclinical mastitis quarters of group D cows is appreciable and opens a new avenue to conduct further trials in a larger population in various field conditions. However, the pharmacology of ascorbic acid with particular reference to health of mammary gland needs to be investigated.


Supported by : Indian Council of Agricultural Research (New Delhi)


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