Mastitis prevention starts at dry-off

By John Champagne, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Cattle Technical Services, Merck Animal Health

More than 50% of clinical coliform mastitis cases that occur in the first 100 days in milk originate during the dry period.1 That’s why dry-off management should include a core-antigen vaccine like BOVILIS® J-5

Mastitis prevention starts at dry-off

Core-antigen vaccines help a dairy cow’s immune system recognize coliform bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E.coli), when they invade the udder. These vaccines help stimulate the immune system to produce increased levels of specific protective antibodies against coliform bacteria, so the cow’s immune system is better able to destroy and remove these bacteria.

Potential benefits of core-antigen vaccination can include reductions in mastitis severity, milk loss, pregnancy loss, culling and death associated with E. coli infections. 

Effective response with low endotoxins

BOVILIS J-5 is a Gram-negative core-antigen vaccine formulated to provide adequate antigen exposure for an effective immune response and protective antibody production, while minimizing the potential adverse endotoxin loading associated with endotoxin in vaccines. 

Research found the use of BOVILIS J-5 reduced the rate of clinical coliform mastitis 2.4-fold compared with the use of Enviracor ® J-5 during the first 100 days of lactation.2

While advantages were not restricted to older cows, the greatest difference in BOVILIS J-5 efficacy over that of Enviracor J-5 was in multi-lactation cows. This is significant because older cows during the first months of lactation are at greatest risk to clinical coliform mastitis caused by E. coli and Klebsiella species.3

Furthermore, studies show BOVILIS J-5 has no negative effect on milk production.2 And when compared to similar products, BOVILIS J-5 had the lowest endotoxin levels (EU/mL) per bottle; it was 15-fold below the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) recommendation.4


  1. Bradley JA & Green MJ. A study of the incidence and significance of intramammary enterobacterial infections acquired during the dry period. J Dairy Sci. 2000;83(9):1957-1965. 
  2. Field trial to compare efficacy of BOVILIS ® J-5 and Enviracor® J-5 vaccines against clinical coliform mastitis during early lactation. Merck Animal Health technical bulletin, 2020. 
  3. Hogan JS, Smith KL, Todhunter DA, Schoenberger PS. Field trial to determine efficacy of an E. coli J5 mastitis vaccine. J Dairy Sci. 1992;75:78-84. 
  4. Comparison of endotoxin concentrations in BOVILIS ® J-5 with those in three commercially available Gram-negative, lipopolysaccharide core-antigen vaccines. Merck Animal Health technical bulletin, 2020. 

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