1 Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control, Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 unknown3 Population Biology, Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 Population Biology, Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Mild clinical mastitis as an example
Previous studies have addressed the differences in registered disease incidence between the Nordic dairy disease recording systems. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether Nordic dairy farmers have varying intention to contact a veterinarian the same day as detecting signs of mild clinical mastitis (MCM) in a lactating dairy cow. This is the first, and necessary, step in the process leading to a disease event being recorded. The second objective was to study underlying behavioural components influencing this threshold for action. A questionnaire-based survey was carried out in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The questionnaire was based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour from the field of social psychology. After performing qualitative face-to-face elicitation interviews a set of statements about treatment of MCM was identified. These were grouped into behavioural, normative and control beliefs. The most frequently mentioned beliefs were rephrased as questions. Behavioural intention, a proxy for the behaviour of interest, was assessed using case scenarios. The target and eligible herds were in milk recording and had an average herd size of at least 15 cows. The questionnaire was distributed to 400 randomly sampled dairy producers per included country. The response rate was around 50% in all four countries. The hypothesis of differences in behavioural intention between the countries was tested using Wilcoxon's rank-sum tests. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate the country-specific variability in behavioural intention as explained by attitude, subjective norm or perceived behavioural control alone, or in combination. The Spearman rank correlations between behavioural intention and each belief, weighted by its outcome evaluation or the motivation to comply, were estimated to find the most important drivers, constraints and social referents for the behaviour of interest. There were significant (p <0.01) differences in behavioural intention between all countries except Denmark and Norway. Swedish farmers had the weakest behavioural intention and Finnish farmers the strongest. Attitude explained most of the variability in behavioural intention in all four countries. The most important driver in all countries was to achieve a quick recovery for the cow. The varying behavioural intention partly explain the differences in completeness of disease data in the Nordic countries: if farmers have different thresholds for contacting a veterinarian the registered incidence of clinical mastitis will be affected. Knowledge about the importance of attitudes and specific drivers may be useful in any communication about mastitis management in the Nordic countries. (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2013, Vol 108, Issue 2-3, p. 114-124