Armenta: Non-antibiotic Treatment for Mastitis

Published on Tue, 09/18/2018 - 9:50am

 Armenta: Non-antibiotic Treatment for Mastitis

 By Maura Keller Ink

 Due to the ongoing economic pressure of the industry, dairy farmers work to maximize profitability by constantly improving genetic selection, nutrition, and herd management. Armenta Ltd., an Agtech company located in Kfar Sava, Israel, is working to help dairy farmers maintain economic viability while keeping their dairy herds healthy. Through extensive research and innovative therapies, Armenta has developed leading-edge products that not only transform the standard care of dairy cattle diseases, but also reduce the economic burden of these diseases.

One of the key areas of research and development that the Armenta team has focused on is implementing mastitis detection, treatment and prevention modules. Mastitis is widely recognized as a significant economic burden on dairy farms across the globe. Not only does mastitis reduce milk yield and quality, but it also increases culling rates, resulting in more than $2 billion lost annual revenue in the U.S. and more than $1.5 billion across the EU.
The company’s proprietary Acoustic Pulse Therapy (APT) technology and devices have been specifically designed for treating dairy cows. Also known as low intensity shockwave therapy, APT has been widely documented over the last 35 years for treating patients with inflammatory diseases, heart ischemia and erectile dysfunction. APT has been shown to produce new blood vessels, reduce inflammation and improve tissue function with long term effects.
According to Armenta’s CTO, Eddy Papirov, “The APT device was designed and adapted to produce deep penetrating acoustic pulses that are distributed over a large area (such as the cow’s udder) and treated at a therapeutic level, without causing any pain or discomfort to the cow. Furthermore, since the FDA does not require submission of a 510(k), or any pre-market approval (PMA) for devices used in veterinary medicine, the APT device will not have to overcome these regulatory barriers.”

“We believe that the introduction of our innovative APT technology into dairy farms will, for the first time, bring a proven new treatment modality to a real unmet need in the dairy industry” says Gil Hakim, CEO of Armenta. “Within dairy producers, this technology enables longer milking cycles, boosts milk yield and milk quality, increases cow well-being and leads to direct and significant increase in dairy farm profitability”.
Dr. Gabriel Leitner, Armenta’s CMO explains that mastitis is normally divided into clinical and subclinical infection, both of which result in decreased milk yield, deterioration in milk quality and increased risk of culling. Clinical and subclinical mastitis affect 20%-40% of cows. The major causes of mastitis are bacterial: coliforms, Streptococci, coagulase-positive staphylococci (mainly Staphylococcus aureus) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). Cows are most susceptible to bacterial infection after drying-off and prior to calving, with symptoms becoming apparent in early lactation. Current treatments of clinical mastitis use intramammary infusion and/or of intramuscular antibiotics or non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAID). During the treatment the milk is discarded, and the affected cow is removed from the herd. Therefore, Non-antibiotic treatment of mastitis without the consequences of antibiotics is highly necessary.”
Extensive research has proven that Armenta’s APT technology is highly effective. In a study conducted on 116 dairy cows with subclinical mastitis and 29 dairy cows with clinical mastitis from 3 different herds, following APT, 70% of cows with subclinical and 76% with clinical mastitis recovered (SCC <350,000 cell/ml and/or cured from bacterial infection) compared to 18% and 19% in the control groups respectively.  Moreover, cows with subclinical mastitis treated with APT produced 11% more milk with higher quality than the control group. In addition, following APT, 8% of the cows with clinical mastitis were culled compared to 56% treated with antibiotics.
In contrast to current treatment options for subclinical and clinical mastitis, which require early identification of the type of bacteria, APT does not require bacterial identification. Moreover, administering antibiotics or NSAID require separating milk obtained from the infected cow during treatment until antibiotic residue is fully cleared (4-7 days), while with APT it is not necessary to discard milk during treatment. Dr. Leitner further explains: “Due to the high costs of antibiotic treatment during lactation as well as significant concern of overuse of drugs, which may increase the  risk of infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria among humans and animals, most animals are treated only during the dry-off period.”
Antibiotics are directed to kill and/or to slow down growth of bacteria, thus allowing the immune cells to eradicate the bacteria. However, they do not aid in regenerating the damaged tissue. The ATP treatment is directed to increase angiogenesis and anti-inflammatory responses in the mammary tissues. Therefore, the treatment not only increases the activation of the immune cells but also accelerates the recovery of the regenerated gland tissue.

Treatment of subclinical mastitis presents different challenges to veterinarians due to its wide prevalence, reaching 20 to 40% of udders in some herds. “Many cows with subclinical chronic infection show no recognizable symptoms and the milk appears normal, resulting in difficulty in identification” Leitner explains.
Armenta’s goal is to transform the standard of care of dairy cattle diseases, with the focus on mastitis.  The company’s APT-based solution offers increased milk yield after calving, profitability throughout the lactation period, reduced impact of mastitis on milk yield and quality, udder protection during the dry period and increased milk yield in the next lactation (see figure),” says Gil Hakim ,CEO of Armenta.

Thus, Armenta’s innovative APT technology has numerous benefits in the treatment of clinical and subclinical mastitis:
1. Significant reduction in the use of antibiotics complying with the public health demands
2. Significant reduction in milk discarded during treatment
3. Treatment of subclinical mastitis during lactation
4. Improved milk quantity and quality during lactation
5. Opportunity for treatment during dry off period
6. Increased regeneration process of the damaged tissues
7. Decreased culling of subclinical mastitis cows due to low milk production and low milk quality
All these advantages open a new horizon in the dairy industry, benefiting both animals and humans. Armenta’s technology has the potential to treat other cattle diseases beyond mastitis such as ones that affect the reproduction system or causing lameness.
“We are at the brink of a breakthrough in the management of herd health. Armenta has the potential to become a leading player in the dairy industry” says Hakim.