Tips For Healthy Teats

AUSTRALIA - Mastitis in dairy herds can be spread between cows during milking, warns Dairy Australia.
calendar icon 7 October 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Dairy Australia Countdown Downunder manager Dr Pauline Brightling said maintaining healthy teat skin and teat ends was a key to effective mastitis control.

“Milk from one infected quarter is spread to the teat skin of other quarters and to other cows by milkers’ hands, teatcup liners and cross flow of milk between teatcups,” Dr Brightling said.

“The risk of mastitis increases dramatically if teats have chaps, cracks or sores.”

Preventing infection involves keeping cows calm and teat ends healthy, careful use of machines that are operating well and disinfection of teat skin after clusters are removed.

“Even teats that become temporarily swollen or discoloured during milking are less able to resist mastitis infections. So paying close attention to how teats are faring as lactation progresses is a really important strategy in mastitis prevention,” she said.

Healthy teats are soft and supple. The teat end should have a small, even opening surrounded by smooth skin, sometimes with a raised ring around it. Healthy teat skin is easier to keep clean, minimising preparation before milking.

To maintain healthy teats in your herd, follow these tips from Countdown Downunder:

  1. Assess teat skin and teat ends after cups off every day.
  2. Check important milking management and machine factors e.g. blocked air admission holes on clusters.
  3. Reduce access to muddy areas where possible.
  4. Ensure cows don't have access to creeks, dams and water courses.
  5. Minimise use of water on cows in the dairy; use low pressure hoses on teats requiring washing.
  6. Check teat disinfectant mix to ensure disinfectant and emollient levels are correct.
  7. Ensure that all the skin of every teat is covered in teat disinfectant after every milking.
  8. Avoid using teat ointments.
  9. Seek advice from your veterinarian or milking machine technician if problems persist.
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