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Mastitis

Cause

Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue.

It usually occurs as an immune response to bacterial invasion of the teat canal by variety of bacterial sources present on the farm (commonly through bedding or contaminated teat dips), and can also occur as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury to the cow's udder.

Mastitis is a multifactoral disease, closely related to the production system and environment that cows are kept in. Mastitis risk factors or disease determinants can be classified into three groups: host, pathogen and environmental determinants.

Symptoms

Subclinical: Few symptoms of subclinical mastitis appear, although it is present in most dairy herds.

Somatic cell counts measure milk quality and can be used as an indicator of mastitis prevalence.

Clinical mastitis: The most obvious symptoms of clinical mastitis in the udder are swelling, heat, hardness, redness or pain.

Milk takes on a watery appearance, flakes, clots or pus is often present.

A reduction in milk yields, increases in body temperature, lack of appetite, and a reduction in mobility due to the pain of a swollen udder are also common signs.

Treatment

NSAID are widely used for the treatment of acute mastitis. Aspirin, flunixin meglumine, flurbiprofen, carprofen, ibuprofen, and ketoprofen have been studied as treatments for experimental coliform mastitis or endotoxin-induced mastitis. Orally administered aspirin should be used with caution in acute coliform mastitis because it may lead to severe rumen atony.

Prevention

  1. Hygienic teat management: which includes good housing management, effective teat preparation and disinfection for good milk hygiene, teat health and disease control.
  2. Prompt identification and treatment of clinical mastitis cases: including the use of the most appropriate treatment for the symptoms.
  3. Dry cow management and therapy: where cows are dried off abruptly and teats are cleaned scrupulously before dry cow antibiotics are administered, including the use of teat-end sealants if appropriate.
  4. Culling chronically affected cows: cows that become impossible to cure and represent a reservoir of infection for the whole herd.
  5. Regular testing and maintenance of the milking machine: with regular, recommended teatcup liner replacement and milking machine servicing and attention paid to items which must be checked on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  6. Good record keeping: of all aspects of mastitis treatment, dry cow therapy, milking machine servicing, Somatic Cell Counts and Bactoscan results, and clinical mastitis cases.

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