Background: Mastitis is considered the most significant and persistent disease in dairy cows, bringing about large economic losses. Subclinical mastitis brings about major cost implications, for it is difficult to detect due to absence of any visible indications and can persist in the mammary tissue throughout lactation. Immunomodulators have been widely used to reduce intramammary infections by modulating bovine mammary gland. Atractylodis macrocephalae Koidz. polysaccharides (RAMP), extracted from herbal medicine, has been used widely especially for its immunomodulatory function for many years. The objective of this study was to estimate an oil emulsified Atractylodis macrocephalae Koidz. polysaccharides (RAMP-O) as a potential therapeutic agent to treat subclinical mastitis by subcutaneous injection of RAMP-O in the area of supramammary lymph node in lactating cows via analysis of SCC, IMIs and NAGase.
Results: Injection of RAMP-O in the area of supramammary lymph node significantly reduced milk SCC and NAGase activity compared with control. The quarters with bacterial infection were also progressively reduced in RAMP-O treated cows and only 9 quarters were found to have bacterial infection, while no obvious change was found in the control group.
Conclusions: Subcutaneous injection of RAMP-O in the area of supramammary lymph node had therapeutic value in the treatment of bovine subclinical mastitis by reducing SCC, NAGase and IMIs in milk. Considering both the therapeutic effect and the cost of RAMP-O, 32 mg per dose was found most suitable to reduce milk SCC and NAGase. Therefore, RAMP-O deserves further study for its use in treatment of bovine mastitis.