Mastitis literally means inflammation of the udder. It is a very common disease in cows, and an important aspect of herd health management. If you can see abnormalities in the udder or milk that is clinical mastitis, whereas if your cow has an elevated cell count (>250.000) without clinical signs, we refer to it as subclinical mastitis.
On a dairy farm there are several reasons why mastitis should be addressed. It costs money and time in the dairy, causes welfare issues in the animals, lowers milk quality and increases the usage of antibiotics.
Unfortunately, mastitis is not something we can eliminate altogether - we can only try to get the incidence rate in your herd as low as possible.
So why do cows get mastitis in the first place? In the first place, the udder is exposed to infectious bacteria from the outside world all the time. Whether infection results depends on the natural resistance of the the udder and the amount of infectious bacteria that the udder is exposed to.
The bacteria, or occasionally fungi and yeasts, that cause mastitis are either associated with the environment (eg E. coli, Klebsiella) or with the cows themselves (eg Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae).
The resistance of the udder to infection depends on many factors. One important factor is the anatomy of the udder and teats. Also, other diseases or infections in the cow can make her more prone to developing mastitis.
If you have a mastitis problem in your herd, the milking machines in the dairy can be the cause of the issues. Cow-associated bacteria spread mainly in the dairy.
For treatment options, consult with your vet about the appropriate drugs, duration of treatment and the decision on which animals to treat.
You can contact us if you:
- suspect a high incidence rate of mastitis cases in your herd
- have a high bulk cell count
- have cows that don't respond to treatment
- have a high incidence in your heifers
Or if you have any questions regarding the above.