By Chris McCullough

WITH such a great emphasis on reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming these days a number of new ‘cures’ for mastitis have been developed.

Mastitis costs the global dairy industry billions of dollars every year in lost production and is one of the biggest consumers of antibiotics, or at least it was. There are many solutions to reduce mastitis coming to the market that don’t use antibiotics and instead use natural remedies, or new technology to control the disease.

One of these latest concentrates on the use of acoustic pulse technology and its ability to treat inflammatory diseases in human healthcare.

Based in Israel, Armenta has adapted this human care technology to increase the health of cattle by focusing on mastitis, which is also an inflammatory disease. Following a number of trials on dairy farms across the world the company found its new test had a success rate of m,ore than 70% when tackling mastitis.

Armenta CEO and chairman, Gil Hakim, helped set up the company back in 2018 and is moving forward with the new treatment to help farmers. Mr Hakim said: “The company was set up to address the most pressing disease affecting dairy farming today as losses due to bovine mastitis can reach several billion dollars per year around the world.

“Armenta developed a disruptive, proprietary, antibiotic free solution for bovine mastitis, based on acoustic pulse technology (APT) designed specifically for dairy cattle. This has been used for more than 20 years in human healthcare treating inflammatory diseases. Our motto is from human care to cattle care,” he said.

He added that traditional, antimicrobial treatments for bovine mastitis are becoming more and more burdensome and that their results are unsatisfactory, they undermine farm profitability, and the human health risks are triggering global restrictions.

APT's non-invasive action triggers natural biological processes that fight infection and inflammation. Now, for the first time, this technology can be used to treat dairy cows quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. A unique, simple-to-use, lightweight and hand-held device, the APT-X, provides comprehensive mastitis treatment in just three minutes, with immediate results.

During the course of field studies on dairy farms around the world, farmers and vets applied Armenta's course of therapy to hundreds of cows with clinical or sub-clinical mastitis. The equipment was comfortable to use and performed well, the treatments were simple to administer, and the animals displayed no resistance, said those who used it.

The company said the real impact was on the cattle’s health and milk production which after treatment showed a mastitis recovery rate of more than 70% with normal SCC levels and infection-free.

How it works:

The current APT-X system consists of a pulse generator (APT-X1) which is a hand-held device that generates the acoustic pulses through ballistic impact. It also contains an applicator unit which is disposable and needs to be replaced every 20 to 80 cows. The main control unit is high-pressure air tank, air compressor and accessories.

It uses pulses generated via ballistic impact powered by high pressurised air covering a large area at therapeutic levels and all that in a short treatment time.

Mr Hakim added: “APT has been in use for more than 20 years in orthopaedics, physiotherapy, sports medicine, urology, and veterinary medicine. It has been shown to speed up recovery by producing new blood vessels, reducing inflammation and improving tissue functioning, alongside other long-term positive effects.

“Currently, antibiotics are used as a treatment of mastitis during the lactation period and as a prevention method during the dry-period, the period between lactations. Using APT, farmers could reduce the use of antibiotics as a treatment tool and abolish its use as a prevention.

“In field studies involving more than 850 dairy cows in nine different countries, Armenta’s APT-based solution was used to treat clinical and sub-clinical mastitis, with unmistakable results.

“These showed over 70% recovery rates (normalized SCC and infection-free) and an increased milk yield of around 10% or more. These numbers were remarkably consistent with the academic paper by Professor Gabriel Leitner on APT use for treating bovine mastitis published in 2017,” he said.

Armenta is supported by a number of investors, including farmers. Mr Hakim said: “The lead investor of the company is an Israeli Agritech Venture Capital. Other investors include dairy farms and dairy industry experts that have seen the company technology, how it works, and who understand it’s high potential and decided to invest."

The future:

Mr Hakim said the future goal is to transform herd health management, with a focus on lifting the economic burden of inflammatory diseases on profit.

“Bovine mastitis, lowers milk production and milk quality and can lead to forced culling. Existing state of the art solutions are either treating mastitis by a variety of drugs and biological treatments or by targeted actions to prevent the disease occurrence.

“Both approaches show clear shortcomings and do not overcome the main problem which is regaining the udder health and function," he argued.

“APT has been developed as a novel non-antibiotic-based device providing biological boost to the cow’s immune system, increasing its overall health and welfare and transforming the standard care of dairy cattle diseases,” he said.