Journal of ApiProduct
& ApiMedical Science
Vol. 1 (3) pp. 104 – 109
October 2009
Article Title

Somatic Cell Count in Milk of Bee Venom Treated Dairy Cows with Mastitis


Sang Mi Han, Kwang Gill Lee, Joo Hong Yeo, Sung Jin Hwang, Peter J. Chenoweth and Sok Cheon Pak

 The objective of this study was to determine whether bee venom (BV) has therapeutic capacity against clinical and subclinical mastitis as assessed by mammary quarter somatic cell count (SCC) in dairy cows. Mastitic cows from four farms, selected on the basis of SCC above 200,000 cells/mL of milk, were used in the current study. For bacteriological culture, individual quarter milk samples were aseptically collected into sterile culture tubes. Pathogens were identified on the basis of colony morphology, characteristic haemolytic patterns and Gram staining. To observe BV dose effects, 15 lactating mastitic cows were injected subcutaneously with four different doses (3, 6, 12 and 24 mg per treatment) of BV. Another 6 lactating cows were used to compare two methods of BV administration (by subcutaneous injection or Bovivet Spenstift). An increasing concentration of BV exhibited a non-linear dose response in the reduction of mean SCC in milk samples. A significant reduction was seen on days 3 and 6 (p < 0.05) compared to the control across all doses. With 12 mg dose, the reduction was 55% and 63% on day 3 and 6, respectively. By contrast, the higher dose (24 mg) did not appear to further affect the reduction, with 57% and 65% on day 3 and 6, respectively. When administration methods were compared, SCC reduction on day 3 was 55% and 63% with injection and Bovivet Spenstift, respectively. It was confirmed that the most effective BV therapy was by the Bovivet Spenstift at 12 mg. Then, a total of 53 quarters from 38 lactating cows were treated with BV once daily for 14 days. In the course of treatment period, the effect of BV was clearly shown to increase the number of clinically cured quarters with less than 0.2 million / mL SCC from 13 (24.5%) on day 3 to 32 (60.4%) on day 14. A significant reduction in the detection of Staphylococcus aureus and other Gram positive pathogens was found within 2 weeks of BV treatment with 75% clinical cure rate. In conclusion, BV treatment of dairy cows with mastitis may have boosted mammary defence mechanisms. This method may be an efficacious option to avoid frequent administrations of antibiotics.  

bee venom, mastitis, defence mechanism, SCC.

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